Trade Union Statement to COP15, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – UNFCCC, Copenhagen, Denmark (7-18 December, 2009).
Trade unions and climate change - Equity, justice & solidarity in the fight against climate change




Time for tackling climate change: Addressing global climate change is critical to the economic, social and environmental interest of all peoples of the world. Trade unions believe that ambitious mitigation action is fundamental if we want to leave our children a sustainable world and a chance for social and development goals to be achieved. These actions must be fairly shared and distributed between and within countries: responsibility and capacity must be the guiding principles for burden sharing. As representative trade unions from the North & South, we ask all governments to respect the mandate of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and firmly commit to emission reductions on the basis of their differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.  (More on mitigation in pages 3-4)

Time for hope, time for “green & decent” jobs: Climate policies provide an opportunity for restoring hope, repairing and rebuilding national economies on a sustainable basis and creating jobs while reducing GHG emissions. Trade unions are working around the world to realise the huge opportunities for “green and decent” job creation stemming from this global transformation and, importantly, for improving traditional jobs to make them socially and environmentally sustainable . Ambitious national and international collective bargaining strategies could realize workers’ and enterprises’ potential while delivering environmentally friendly outcomes. (More on the “green and decent work” opportunities in pages 5-6 and 19).

Time for a just transition: Economic transformation can not be left to the “invisible hand” of the market. Government-driven investments, innovation and skills development, social protection and consultation with social partners (unions and employers) are essential if we want to make change happen. This is why we call for a “just transition” as a means for smoothing the shift towards a more sustainable society and restoring hope in the capacity of a “green economy” to sustain jobs and livelihoods for all (More on “Just Transition” in pages 4 and 7-9).

Time for bridging the ‘adaptation’ gap: The poor cannot be left to plunge into even greater misery. Sufficient public funding should be directed from developed countries to adaptation in developing countries. The latest should mainstream adaptation into their development and employment policies. Social protection schemes, decent work promotion and quality public services as a means for reducing poverty and thus vulnerability to climate change are fundamental. (More on adaptation in pages 10-13)

Time for making investments and technology work for all: Major investments are needed to develop long-term sustainable industrial policies, aimed at retaining and creating decent and “green”/sustainable jobs, “greening” all workplaces and developing and deploying technology. Innovation policies, including social innovations, are also key. Developed countries have to scale up their efforts regarding technology transfer and funding research and innovation in developing countries. (More on investments and technology in pages 14-16)

Time for workers and workplaces to become actors of their future: Since almost three-quarters of global greenhouse gases come from manufacturing, energy production or supply, transport and construction, workplace actions will be crucial in order to achieve change. Workers and workplaces need pro-active and preventive policies to be put in place regarding adaptation to climate change, as well as the potential impacts of mitigation policies. (More on workplaces in pages 17-18).