Wednesday 30 March 2016

NUT Adopts new policy on Climate Change

NUT Conference passed the following Climate Change Motion


Conference recognises the following:

1. Keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius or below is essential if human civilisation is to be sustained and there is to be a future for our children;
2. Doing so requires sharp cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions on a very rapid timescale;
3. This requires 75-80% of known fossil fuel reserves to be left in the ground;
4. The technology exists to make a transition to a sustainable carbon neutral society with gains in living standards for the majority of humanity at an annual cost little greater than the current cost of annual fossil fuel subsidies, but this is incompatible with high levels of inequality and a society based on aspiration for luxurious lifestyles;
5. That growth will have to be primarily in those areas of the economy that enable this transition to take place;
6. The world’s wealthiest countries will have to make cuts in emissions of 8-10% a year (on top of those made by exporting manufacturing and related pollution to China and other countries);
7. Governments will have to put our economies on a war footing and take charge of necessary investment in sustainable energy, transport and urban planning because the private sector is not doing what is necessary;
8. This will not happen while the needs of our planet and our civilisation are held to ransom by the short-term profitability of the fossil fuel industries; and
9. This has profound implications for the structure and content of our education system, both in terms of content and values.

Conference instructs the Executive to call on the Government for:

i. The production of national plan for the most rapid possible transition to a carbon zero economy, including an immediate reversal of the current Government’s withdrawal of support from wind and solar energy;
ii. The most rapid possible retrofitting of all school buildings to make them as carbon neutral as possible (as part of a concerted plan for all publically owned buildings);
iii. An end to restrictions on solar panels by heritage considerations;
iv. A re-examination of the curriculum to put sustainability and the values of a sustainable society at the heart of it;
v. An immediate abandonment on fracking domestically and an embargo
on the import of any fracked gas or tar sand oil from any other country;
vi. The most rapid possible transfer of fossil fuel subsidies to sustainable energy generation and the phasing out of coal power without Carbon Capture Storage by 2023; and
vii. The most rapid possible socialisation of power generation.

Conference further instructs the Executive to:

a. Negotiate with the DFE on a new curriculum and seek support from other education unions;
b. Convene a working party of all interested teachers to work with relevant campaigns, like Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and Campaign against Climate Change, to find all the aspects of the current curriculum that can be developed to draw out a sustainable content and to examine those areas or values that need to be challenged and changed and produce model alternatives; making 2016-17 the year of the Green Curriculum;
c. Work with these campaigns on developing termly themes that link educational content with active citizenship and encourage our members to push them in schools;
d. Encourage union bodies at all levels to support national and local demonstrations and campaigns against fracking and climate change, negotiate with local authorities to make our schools carbon neutral solar power stations and press governing bodies to adopt a green school plan of action;
e. Take this issue up with other unions through the TUC, our international counterparts bilaterally and through Education International, supporting initiatives like the German TUCs new ‘Marshal Plan’ for Europe; and
f. Affiliate to the campaign against climate change:

Campaign Aims and Objectives

The Campaign against Climate Change (CCC) exists to push for the urgent and radical action we need to prevent the catastrophic destabilisation of global climate.
The destabilisation of global climate has become the very greatest threat to our planet and everyone on it – with the possible exception only of all-out war with modern weapons of mass-destruction. We do not know how much irreversible damage we have done already but we know that if we do not act now the effects will be many times more devastating still.
1. The CCC exists to secure the action we need - at a local, national and, above all, international level - to minimise harmful climate change and the devastating impacts it will have. To that end the CCC seeks to raise awareness about the gravity and urgency of the threat from climate change and to influence those with the greatest power to take effective action to do so with the utmost speed and resolution. Where ignorance, short term greed and vested interests stand in the way of the action that is urgently needed, the CCC exists to fight against all of these things.
2. In particular the CCC brings people together for street demonstrations, designed to get together the greatest number of people possible, and to create a mass movement to push for our goals.
3. The CCC seeks a global solution to a global problem and aims to push for an international emissions reductions treaty that is both effective in preventing the catastrophic destabilisation of global climate and equitable in the means of so doing. To be effective such a treaty needs to secure such reductions in the global total of greenhouse gas emissions as are deemed by the broad consensus of qualified scientific opinion to be necessary to prevent harmful climate change. The CCC aims to campaign against those with the greatest responsibility for preventing or delaying the progress we urgently need towards an international climate treaty.
4. The CCC recognises that the issue of the destabilisation of global climate has enormous implications in terms of social justice and global inequality. The damage to the earth’s atmosphere has so far been done mainly by the rich nations but it is the poorest who will suffer the greatest and most immediately. The CCC recognises that any solution to the problem must be as fair as possible, incorporating principles of social justice and not exacerbating global inequalities.
5. The CCC aims to bring together as many people as possible who support our broad aims of pushing for urgent action on climate and reducing global emissions. The CCC does not therefore campaign on the important but more detailed questions of how best to achieve these emission reductions and recognises that supporters will have different and deeply held views on these issues.

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