Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union Group -2nd Trade Union Conference

The huge social and economic changes that are needed to dramatically reduce carbon emissions are of vital interest to trade unionists, as are the methods by which they can be achieved. This conference is a chance to engage and debate with each other on these crucial issues. Campaigners and researchers from the trade union movement will address a series of workshops on a variety of related issues.

We are also hosting three forums to examine crucial debates for those concerned about the environment. The discussions around the future for nuclear power, coal and aviation are controversial ones within our movement. We hope that these debates will help clarify the issues for delegates.

As the world looks forward to the signing of the Kyoto Treaty’s replacement later this year, our closing plenary will look at proposals for a new treaty and how trade unionists can support and join the international protests calling on world governments to sign a climate treaty that will have social justice at its heart.

Registration (10am-11am)
Admission £10 (£5 concessions)
King’s College London, Franklin-Wilkins Building, Stamford Street, London SE1
Entrance on Stamford Street, London SE1
This venue is fully accessible. Nearest stations: Waterloo tube and rail

Send cheques payable to “Campaign Against Climate Change” to: CCC TU Conference, PO Box 417, Prestwich, Manchester M45 0AP

For more information on the CCC Trade Union group contact:
Martin 079 585 35 231 or Roy 0780 1263 265 or email

Speakers include

Chris Baugh (PCS), Tony Kearns (CWU), Jean Lambert MEP, Ian Lavery (NUM), Mark Lynas, John McClean (GMB), John McDonnell MP, Caroline Molloy, Ann Pettifor, Dave Prentis (UNISON), Phil Thornhill (CCC), Matt Wrack (FBU)

Affiliated unions include CWU, Connect, FBU, PCS, RMT and UCU

Opening plenary (11am-12pm)
Trade unions and climate change – are we making progress? Dave Prentis, General Secretary, UNISON, Matt Wrack, General Secretary FBU, Chris Baugh, Assist. General Secretary PCS, Barry Lovejoy, UCU, John McClean, National Officer GMB, Phil Thornhill, National Coordinator CCC
Workshops (12pm-1.30pm)

1. What future for coal? Speakers: Ian Lavery, President of the NUM and Paul Morrozo of Greenpeace
Coal is often cited as a dirty fuel, one that we need to use less of in future if we are to change the trend towards global warming. But what will happen to the communities dependent on this industry and what about carbon capture technologies: can they really clean up emissions? Can coal provide clean energy as well as much needed jobs?

2. What future for nuclear power? Speakers: Martin Empson, author of Climate Change – why nuclear power is not the answer and Mark Lynas, author of Six Degrees – our future on a hotter planet. Moving away from carbon intensive power generation is key to dealing with the question of long term climate change, but to what extent should nuclear power be part of the energy mix? Those in favour argue it is carbon neutral. Opponents point out problems with waste and other dangers. Come and take part in the debate about this key issue.

3. What future for Aviation? Speakers: John McClean, GMB, John McDonnell MP Aviation is set to further increase carbon emissions, so how will the government plan to reduce the total amount to 80% of 1990 levels by 2050? With the threat of climate crisis, the current economic recession, and uncertainty regarding the supply and cost of fuel, what role will aviation play in the economic, employment and environmental future of our lives? Can the aviation industry become part of an integrated transport and business plan that offers new sustainable employment opportunities? We have chosen to present forums rather than debates to enable fraternal discussion on the key facts and arguments around these vitally important issues, rather than simply a polarised exchange.

Forums (2.15pm-3.45pm)
A. Workplace environment reps Speakers: Paul Hampton, Labour Research Department, Graham Petersen, Unison Environment Rep: The speakers join current environment reps from around the country to discuss theory and practice of being an environment rep and how you can become one too.

B. Fighting for a just transition Speakers: Danny Faith GMB Branch Secretary Heathrow (pc), Caroline Molloy, Researcher– Environment Unite: If ‘dirty’ carbon polluting industries close what happens to the workers? How do we move to a low carbon economy in a socially just way? What are the implications for the unions?

C. Towns and cities Speakers: Sarah Parker, Glyn Robbins, Over fifty percent of humanity lives in cities. This workshop looks at the strategies and solutions urban populations can use to deal with climate change.

D. Economics of climate change Speakers: Ann Pettifor, co-author Green New Deal, Graham Turner, author The Credit Crunch How will the economic situation impact on attempts to stop climate change? Will a recession mean reduced emissions? Can investment in green industries and jobs be part of the economic solution?

E. Food production, diets and climate change Speakers: Esme Choonara, co-author Hunger in a World of Plenty, Jayant Patel, Vegetarian Society, Jackie Simpkins, War on Want: Food production and distribution is a major contributor to climate change. We discuss the changes we need to implement for a just global food system.

F. How can we make transport sustainable? Speakers include: Jason Torrance, Sustrans Is there a realistic alternative to private cars? This workshop will look at how we can change the way we commute and travel to reduce the impact of transport on the environment?

G. International perspectives post-Kyoto Speakers: Joseph Healey Green Party, Philip Pearson, TUC Senior Policy Officer Climate Change. We need international agreement and action on climate change but Kyoto failed. How can we get an international agreement which is effective, equitable and just?

H. Are renewables a solution to climate change? Speakers: Dave Elliott Open University, Nick Rau Friends of the Earth.Renewable energy generation is part of most plans to deal with climate change. This session will examine the prospects for renewable energy generation and whether it could provide all our power needs.

I. Methods of struggle Speakers: John Jordan, Climate Camp, Tony Kearns, CWU, John Stewart, HACAN. The Climate Camps have demonstrated the vibrant and imaginative approach to campaigning of
many young activists. What can the trade union movement learn from them and they from us?

Closing plenary (4.00pm-5.00pm)

Towards Copenhagen
Tony Kearns, Senior Deputy General Secretary CWU, John McDonnell MP, Jean Lambert, Green Party MEP, Jonathan Neale, Campaign against Climate Change. The last session of the day will take contributions from the floor, so anyone who wants to speak will get the chance. Our final guest speakers will draw together major themes of the conference and will give thoughts and guidance on the lead up to Copenhagen.


6 Responses

  1. Commercial vehicles such as lorries, utility vans, postal vans and taxis could be adapted to become electric vehicles. Such vehicles are essential work vehicles and new vehicles that are constructed need to be electric or at the very least duel-fuel vehicles as well. The car manufacturing industry in the UK and in other countries is at present in recession the government could step-in to provide training of workers in these industries to enable vehicle conversion. They could also subsidise the car industry to enable investment in adapting commercial vehicles to become electric vehicles and in building new electric vehicles.
    Electric vehicles are more fuel effiecient, require less maintenance, have less carbon pollution and other forms of pollution including noise pollution, breakdown less thus reducing congestion and cheaper to run. Commercial vehicles are in daily use thus the importance of making them electric, however, work could be organised to adapt vehicles at weekends.

  2. Making social housing fuel effeicient and need for council housing. The government ought to begin a huge programme in making council and social housing more fuel effiecient. This could involve heat insulation programmes, installation of combined heat and energy units, upadating of boilers. It could also involve the installation of solar panels and wind turbines on council estate blocks.
    Tenants in council estates and other forms of social housing will generally spend more time at home. This is because they either do not work or poverty restricts them from going out at night. As well, some are homeworkers whose companies ought to be taxed in order to facilitate the transformation of their homes into energy effiecient homes.
    The oil and gas companies as well ought to be issued with a windfall tax in order to pay for the modernising of homes to make them fuel effiecient.

  3. Conversion of electric transmission cables to become
    high density voltage cables. The present system of transmitting energy is wasteful with the present system of overhead cables also an eyesore, a potential danger with a recent case of an adolescent child being electrocuted. They are also open to hurricanes and lightning strikes as well as terrorism.
    The conversion to a system of high density voltage cables could significantly improve the effieciency of transmission of electricity by approximately 17% (check scientists for global responsibility for finer detail.)
    In fact, the combination of centralised power systems consisting of solar energy whereby the energy from the sun is converted to electric energy through a system of mirrors concentrating the energy onto water to create steam turbines together with other forms of renewables would most probably create enough energy. Scientists have calculated that between 1% and 5% of deserts need to be covered with such solar steam turbines in order to create suffiecient energy providing high density voltage cables are the transmitting source. They have postured Northern Africa and South Africa as the areas for the solar steam turbines with localised mining. Localised mining would create work in areas that would welcome the source of employment and that would help to stabilise their states thus reducing threats of terrorism. Scientists have also looked into food sources for local populations and brought forward that the shaded areas provided by solar steam turbines would enable the growth of food.
    The transformation of the electricity transmission systems to underground higher voltage density cables would of course improve the effieciency of all energy sources.

  4. Local production, sweatshops and fairtrade. The transportation of goods in cargo ships creates much uneccesary carbon pollution. Vast amounts of goods are transported from such ships whether this be sugar from Africa, sportwear from Bangledesh or mobile phones from China.
    The need to create local production and local markets for goods therefore is not only a battle for worker’s rights, conditions and wages it is also a battle for the environment.
    The increase in pay of sweatshop workers from China to Bangledesh and onto Africa and the Carribean would enable them to buy the local goods that they so often produce.
    As well, the investment in manufacturing by the economies of Western workers would enable locally sourced products.
    I am aware of the production of duel fuel cargo ships, however, surely fair pay for the sweatshop workers of the world is more important then investment in such forms of shipping.

  5. One glaring omission from almost all discussions of climate change, including this one, is the effect, direct and indirect, of military activities on global warming. The direct effect includes the use of fossil fuels, with the US military said to be the largest single corporate user of them. This is true even in “peacetime”, and is exacerbated by conflict. It has been calculated that the Iraq war resulted in the emission of 141 million tonnes of greenhouse gases between March 2003 and October 2007, Conflict damages the environment in many ways. It inhibits the measures needed to tackle environmental problems, both those created by the conflict and the more general, longstanding ones. Conversely, climate change is often one of the causes of conflict, producing a vicious circle.

    A further aspect to be noted is the mismatch between the resources devoted to the military and those used for peaceful, constructive purposes, including combatting global warming. This contrast is especially striking in the field of R & D, where military research is many times that devoted to climate change.

    This is a trade union conference. But the trade unions have a very ambivalent attitude to these issues. If they conformed to their professed principles of human brotherhood and peace they would be demanding that they be provided with jobs that enhanced life, not created the means to destroy it. Yet they defend the jobs of workers in the arms industry, such as nuclear submarines, the Eurofighter, and new aircraft carriers.

    The problems of poverty, preventable disease, discrimination, conflict, environmental degradation, including climate change, will not be solved until the human race learns to live together without periodically slaughtering one another by the tens, hundreds, thousands and, with nuclear weapons, potentially millions, and stops devoting so much of its resources to the means to do so. The trade union movement should be in the forefront of campaigning to achieve this.

    Frank Jackson
    Co-Chair, World Disarmament Campaign

    ps The timetable for the conference contains a mistake which for some reason seems to have become common recently: 12pm is midnight, not noon. Whoever compiled the agenda, think about it: what does pm mean? post meridiem = after noon. 12am is also midnight, but 24 hours earlier, ie, the beginning of the day, as opposed to the end.

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