Monday 16 December 2019

This COP has failed people & planet. People power, Climate Justice!

Climate campaigners from around the world have hit out angrily at UN climate talks in Madrid failing to deliver for the people and the planet.

Civil society organisations representing trade unions, environment NGOs, youth, indigenous peoples, women and many other campaigners made a series of highly critical statements as the talks, known as COP 25, ended on Sunday.

Francis Stuart, STUC Policy Officer, spoke on behalf of the global workers movement, represented by the ITUC. He said: "We represent 207 million workers from 165 countries. What we have seen in the last two weeks is nothing short of a disgrace. Unions are bitterly disappointed. 

"We were hoping to see governments agreeing ambitious climate justice policies that responded to the climate emergency that is threatening our lives, jobs, livelihoods, communities and dignity. What we have is the polar opposite. 

"Civil society has been locked out – while Governments backtrack on what has been negotiated over the years. What we have seen is nothing less than parties trying to dismantle the Paris Agreement."

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland warned today that the failings of COP 25 heap pressure on the talks in Glasgow in November next year.

Tom Ballantine, SCCS chair, said: “These climate talks failed to act on the calls of people across the world who have demanded faster and deeper action to keep global temperature rises below 1.5C.

“These UN climate talks remain the best, and only, global platform to build consensus on climate action and climate justice. But if they are to work, those governments blocking progress need to get out of the way and start listening. 

"The people are demanding a strong response to the climate emergency. The climate crisis is unfolding now, and public pressure will only grow in the months leading up to COP26 in Glasgow.

“All actors must now significantly step up their game... Scotland can lead by example by accelerating its response to the climate emergency in its next budget, committing new investments to rapidly reduce our emissions, and by increasing our financial support for people in the world’s poorest countries who are already being devastated by a crisis they did not cause.”

Ben Wilson, of SCIAF, who is chair of the SCCS international group, has written about looking ahead to the November 2020 COP.

He said that the history of Glasgow "simmers beneath its streets, and when the COP comes to the city, it will bubble up over the surface. Questions of colonialism, of its legacy of slavery, of industry, of strikes, and of social movements, will frame our discussions when the world comes to town on equity, loss and damage, human rights, climate justice and the just transition."

UNISON is part of the SCCS coalition and is working with them, the STUC, trade unions including EPSU and PSI internationally, and many other organisations local and international, including the school climate strikers, to help plan for how civil society puts the maximum pressure on Scottish, UK and world governments in the year ahead.

The ITUC address to COP25 included criticism of the Chilean Government, which presided over the Madrid COP, after saying that massive anti-government protests across Chile meant it could not take place there as planned.

Francis said (watch from 9 minutes into this video): "There is no respect for the science, no respect for human rights, no social justice, no ambition and no commitments to action.

"This failure cannot be disentangled from the crises we see around the world.

•           The rich getting richer while the poor suffer. This is exacerbated by climate change.
•           Trade unionists under attack.
•           Governments – including the Chilean Government -  attacking their own people.

"We need bold transformative action from Governments to pave the way for a Just Transition. Next year’s  COP will be in my home city of Glasgow. We need to see climate measures to protect workers rights and create decent jobs.

"None of this is reflected in this COP. This COP has failed the people and the planet. People power, Climate Justice!"

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