Climate change, COP26, zero carbon economy and job creation

Our branch’s motion to UCU Congress was composited with others and passed
Votes in favour 220
Votes against 4
Registered abstentions 4

The COP26 talks in Glasgow in November 2021 come at a crucial time. According to a recent report by the Environment Agency, climate change is hitting the ‘worst case scenario’. This means hotter temperatures, more extreme weather conditions, drought, famine, ecosystem destruction, biodiversity loss and much more. And as always it will be communities in the Global South who feel the worst impacts.

While we welcome any action to deal with the climate crisis, we need to beware false solutions that focus on the market or billionaires to rescue us. That is why the mobilisations for the COP26 – in Glasgow and in local towns and cities – are crucial. And it is important that trade unions are at the heart of these mobilisations, calling for climate justice, a just transformation for workers and one million climate jobs.

We support these mobilisations and the work done by the COP26 coalition.

Congress believes:

      1. The IPCC 2018 Special Report has warned of the dire consequences of exceeding 1.5oC global average warming.
      2. To avoid this global carbon emissions must be halved by 2030.
      3. We need to mobilise for a just transition which protects and improves workers’ livelihoods, creates a more inclusive society and stops greenhouse gas emissions.
      4. We face a global and UK crisis of unemployment; tackling the Covid- 19 pandemic represents an ideal opportunity to invest in climate jobs.
      5. The UK government continues to back false solutions like carbon markets and block the transformational changes which are necessary.

Congress recognises that the move to a zero-carbon economy has huge implications for the jobs of UCU members. Job creation and the measures needed to meet climate targets mean this should be a central focus for UCU strategy.

Congress calls on NEC to:

      1. Support the COP26 coalition and encourage branches to join it.
      2. Join and support the national mobilisations and protests that take place leading up to and during the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November 2021 by supporting branches taking climate solidarity action with students, unions, and campaign organisations
      3. Review UCU activity and infrastructure and draw up a plan for the elimination of greenhouse gas emissions with a report on progress to the 2022 Congress.
      4. Review all UCU training programmes and branch guidance to ensure that the appointment of Green Reps and Green New Deal (GND) bargaining is referenced.
      5. Provide guidance to branches on engagement with local and regional authorities around green jobs and skills
      6. Establish a Climate Action Network with a formal role in UCU structure
      7. Support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill Alliance.