Blogs

TUC votes to support the school student Climate Strike. Now turn words into action.

TUC conference has today unanimously passed a motion to support the school student Global Climate Strike on 20th September and has called on TUC affiliate Unions to organise a 30 minute work day campaign action to coincide with the school students strike on 20th September.

We congratulate the delegates at TUC who have voted to recognise the significance of the Global School Students strikes, initiated by Greta Thunberg and the need for adults and especially the Trade Union movement to stand alongside young people, to ensure they do not stand alone in fighting for the urgent action needed to tackle climate change and ecological crisis and to deliver Climate Justice.

We ask all Trade Unions to now turn words into action and get organised to build on the fantastic examples of Trade Union solidarity action already in place for 20th September. 

The 20th September is already set to be the biggest turnout of working people many organised through their Trade Unions in the UK uniting in solidarity with young people. But it can be even bigger and we still have two weeks to deliver solidarity action to put hundreds of thousands of Trade Unionist onto the streets.

We would like to salute the young people who have led the action and also the UCU NEC members who put forward the motion to TUC conference calling for a 30 minute stoppage. They have been bold enough to recognise the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for Trade Unionists to not only respond to the call for Trade Unions to join them but to be bold in their actions and demands. The support for the UCU statement with over 2000 Trade Unionists and over 100 organisations backing the call for solidarity and a 30 minute workplace stoppage on 20th has also shown us the appetitive that there is for climate action within the Trade Union movement.

We ask all Trade Unionists to do everything they can to match the boldness required of us by the urgency of the Climate Crisis. We have just under two weeks now to build maximum solidarity on the 20th. 

This is just the beginning and we will need to continue the work of building solidarity, fighting to ensure our unions have the most progressive policies which match what the science tells us that we need to do and to continue to demand the Climate Jobs and a Green New Deal which can deliver the Just Transformation that we need.

Act for the Amazon

Large areas of the Amazon rainforest are on fire, waking up the world to a calamity: no natural disaster, but part of a long-running strategy of destruction and exploitation. Bolsonaro came to power, following the imprisonment of former president Lula on corruption charges, with a clear agenda to dismantle the protection of indigenous lands. He once said, “It’s a shame that the Brazilian cavalry hasn’t been as efficient as the Americans, who exterminated the Indians”. 

The current fires were set deliberately to clear more land for agriculture, in particular cattle ranching, which is responsible for 80% of deforestation in the country. Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has increased by two-thirds during Bolsonaro’s presidency. 

Indigenous people have as ever, been in the frontline of resistance, defending their land rights. The picture above is from the Indigenous Women March on August 13th, when almost 3000 indigenous women travelled from across Brazil to the nation's capital.

What can we do here in the UK?

The causes of the destruction are closer to home than you might think. The export market for commodities, in particular Brazilian beef, is driving deforestation. Europe is Brazil’s second biggest market for beef sales. The recently signed EU-Mercosur agreement between the EU and Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay would open EU markets to more beef imports in exchange for the export of EU cars, especially highly fuel-intensive SUVs. But the deal still needs to be approved by the European Parliament, and pressure is growing to block it.

Roads, runways, and airport expansion in the Climate Emergency era

On 18th June the Canadian Government declared a climate emergency. The next day, it approved the controversial Transmountain Pipeline Expansion. If the pipeline is built it could result in up to 600,000 barrels of oil from Alberta's tar sands passing through the port city of Burnaby in British Columbia to reach the export market. The disconnect between these two actions is staggering. It has been described as an example of rank hypocrisy, and has caused many to question whether the "climate emergency" declaration passed by the government is even worth the paper its written on. 

In light of the clear disconnect between the Canadian government's actions and its continued support for new high-carbon infrastructure projects, we thought it worth thinking about what might be happening closer to home. Across the country, local and regional governments have made declarations recognising that we are now living in a climate emergency. According to data collected by Climate Emergency UK over 100 local authorities have passed declarations in the past six months, and they have now been joined by the UK Parliament and the Scottish and Welsh Governments. Many of these declarations have been accompanied by ambitious targets for reaching net zero emissions, with nearly 70 councils setting deadlines for de-carbonisation by 2030.

Pages