Public Values

Climate justice requires social justice

Quality Public Services conference in Geneva hears that green jobs must provide decent work.

The public sector is essential to achieve a just transition to green jobs -  Anabella Rosemberg.GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, Thursday, October 14, 2010: In the plenary address on "Climate justice requires social justice" at the Quality Public Services-Action Now! conference, Anabella Rosemberg (photo), occupational health and environment officer, ITUC-TUAC, explored the aspects of social justice required to ensure a just transition for workers and communities, when climate policies are promoted. According to Rosemberg, these elements include quality public services, social protection, health, unemployment services or education.

She also noted that social justice requires requires climate justice, and emphasized that the "public sector is essential to achieve a just transition to green jobs." She further underlined the need for global unions to mobilize support for an ambitious climate change policy to be adopted as soon as possible.

British Columbia: A land of contradiction

Marc Lee (photo: left), senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives shared his perspectives on climate change issues facing the province of British Columbia. With a population of close to four million people, this resource-rich Canadian province which claims the motto of "the most beautiful place on earth" is a land of contradiction, he said. For instance, poverty and inequality are pressing issues, especially for the indigenous population.

In terms of reducing greenhouse gases, British Colombia is still far behind Europe in its efforts. British Colombia exports natural gas, coal and other polluting energy resources. BC"s carbon footprint is extremely high.

Lee also noted that, "Green jobs need to be both green and decent." He proposed to integrate social justice into climate policies. "Climate change is a political issue, not a technical one," he added.

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, chief executive officer of Green for All, sent her regrets as she was not able to attend the conference as a speaker on this subject.

The session was facilitated by Roger Toussaint, international vice president, Transport Workers" Union of America.

Links and sources
  Council of Global Unions - "Quality Public Services - Action now!"

Posted: October 26, 2010

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