Scottish trade unions to debate ‘radical action’ on climate change

Written by Tom Freeman on 17 April 2019 in News

STUC conference expected to back rapid action to address dangers of climate change

Grahame Smith at STUC - STUC

Scottish trade unions will today debate the need for radical actions to prevent climate breakdown, including a swift transfer to low-carbon investment and infrastructure.

The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) has put forward a motion asking delegates to consider the “hard questions” of addressing the fact climate change is set to be irreversible in just 11 years, according to the UN.

The SNP, Labour and the Scottish Conservatives have warned halting oil and gas production would impact on jobs and the economy.

The STUC has published a new report, ‘Broken Promises and Offshored Jobs’, which warns there is only 21,400 direct and 25,000 indirect jobs in the low-carbon and renewable energy economy, despite a Scottish Government promise to have 130,000 by next year.

Climate strikers disrupted major cities across the UK yesterday, and some have been invited to speak at the STUC in Dundee to warn delegates about the dangers of a lack of action to tackle climate change.

Grahame Smith, General Secretary of the STUC, said: ‘Reducing carbon emissions in Scotland will involve hard choices, and the trade union movement is where these hard choices have to be resolved.

“Carbon reduction will only come from economic and social change on a massive scale. Work will be transformed, and that comes with uncertainty and risk.

“Protests in France demonstrate that attempts to place the burden on workers comes with serious consequences, and the Scottish Government must know that it is not immune to these risks.

“Equally, commitments to new jobs and policy reforms have failed to materialise time and time again.

“Scotland’s unions each have a different stake in this debate, but they are clear that market-driven policies are not the answer. Interventions in research, education, industry and ownership – as well as international cooperation – are crucial components of any just transition to a low-carbon economy.”

In March all other parties in the Scottish Parliament rejected a motion by Scottish Greens on urgent actions to address climate change.

Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment Mairi Gougeon said: “Suddenly ending production would have an absolutely massive impact on communities and jobs, especially in the north-east of Scotland and in constituencies such as mine.”

Scottish Greens Environment and Climate Spokesperson Mark Ruskell said: “The evidence is clear; we need to take ambitious action to cut emissions, we need a just transition to realise the green jobs bonanza that can be delivered with our renewables potential, and we need to accept that using every last bit of fossil fuel reserves is simply incompatible with dealing with the climate emergency.”

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