Reports of Past Events
Report from Jan 29th Climate Jobs workshop in Newcastle, organsed by the PCS:
David Byrne pointd out that MCJ was a timely project, containing a coherent alternative to the Tories neo-liberal agenda, with many similarities to proposals like the Green New Deal and Keynesian economic strategies. What is particularly distinctive about MCJ is its call for a new NHS style National Climate Service, one able to respond to the scale of the challenge posed by climate change and deliver 1 million climate jobs more effectively and rapidly than the halting efforts of 'the market'. Regionally the north east would be well placed to reap the rewards of such a project, with its renewable energy research centres, deep water port facilities, and a legacy of engineering skills readily transferable to renewable energy production.
The subsequent debate covered a wide terrain. Could MCJ become the centrepiece of the current swathe of anti-cuts protests / campaigns, acting as a positive alternative to existing positions of ' no cuts' 'save our services' ? Do recent proposals to privatise our forests give us one way to get masses of people actively engaged in debates and campaigns around climate change? Is MCJ ultimately enough - or do we need a more radical systemic challenge? Many political questions, that will need to be debated, worked through and resolved in the coming struggles against the predatory forces of capitalist profiteers and their neo-liberal political shock troops.
CaCC Climate Forum
Martin Empson, Treasurer of the Campaign Against Climate Change speaks on Climate Jobs at the CaCC forum, 30th October 2010
Climate Jobs pamphlet launched in House of Commons
The updated version of the Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union Group's pamphlet One Million Climate Jobs was launched last Thursday in the House of Commons.
Jonathan explained that the pamphlet argues that the government should hire one million people in a year to work in jobs that will reduce the amount of carbon that goes into the atmosphere. This would cost what by current standards is a paltry £18-20bn. As Jonathan said, if the planet was a bank it would be too big to fail and governments would find the cash with no trouble at all. He observed that although we have grown used to thinking that catastrophic climate change is a generation or so away it may be on us sooner than we think. As evidence he pointed to the floods in Syria and Iraq which have displaced hundreds of thousands of people., the failure of the Asian monsoons and the droughts in
Caroline Lucas welcomed the rapprochement between trade unionists, Greens and environmental activists which has happened in recent years and went on to suggest that workers need to be involved in planning a carbon neutral future. In her opinion the pamphlet provides the answer to the question "what's your alternative?" She also raised the question of what kind of development and growth are possible on a planet with finite resources.
Philip Pearson from the TUC argued that the Con Dems will axe one million jobs with their cuts strategy and the losses will be equally divided between the private and public sectors. He went into some detail about the impact of Con Dem policy on even the modest efforts at carbon reduction made by New Labour.
John McDonnell offered the view big crises and opportunities come along every twenty five rather than fifty years. In his opinion the ruling class is trying to increase the rate of profit by driving down wage and creating a reserve army of labour and the cuts that they plan to make will exacerbate climate change.
Next week, he explained, the debate on cuts will move from abstraction to reality for millions of people. He predicted that this is only the first wave and the markets will force Osborne to return next spring with more. For our side this is a moment of potential opportunity and a chance to move the debate onto how the system has failed. The unions will be the site of the most consistent source of mass opposition and the growing connection between the unions and the environmental movement is a big step forward.
John reckons that we are now entering a revolutionary period in which millions will begin to question how the capitalist system works. He also argued that the new Labour leadership will have to listen to the voices of millions of people who will be opposing the cuts and that the climate jobs programme set out in the pamphlet has a possibility of being adopted by this movement.