European Union needs a series of long-term, regional strategies to build a low-carbon economy and reduce emissions, the European Trade Union Confederation concludes in a two-year study released last week.
“Most trade unions see the transition to low-carbon industry as an opportunity to create industrial growth and jobs, but many workers understandably fear widespread job losses,” said ETUC Confederal Secretary Montserrat Mir. “Public support for climate policies cannot be taken for granted. The EU and national governments must show they are ready to deal with the negative impacts of decarbonization, and put in place policies to create greener industries and jobs.”
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The study calls for a “socially just transition to a low-carbon economy in industrial regions, to drastically reduce emissions and keep manufacturing activities and related employment,” ETUC reports. Trade unions and employers must be fully consulted along the way, deployment of “breakthrough low-carbon technologies” must be accelerated, the skills required for a low-carbon transition must receive substantial investment, and the “social impacts of decarbonization” must be factored in.
The study involved trade unions and other organizations in seven industrial regions across the EU.
In the same week, the Canadian Union of Public Employees called for a just transition to a low-carbon economy that includes employment insurance and skill training, sound industrial and sectoral strategies, a “huge role” for the public sector, and attention to the needs of “local communities, Indigenous peoples, precarious workers, marginalized groups, low-income people, and social justice.”
The release stresses that “if building a greener economy leads to more poverty and exclusion, then it could hardly be called a success.”