9 January 2023
Our Ref: EX18/23
To: All Branches
Greener Jobs Alliance (GJA) Newsletter No. 44 – January 2023:
The Greener Jobs Alliance (GJA) came into existence as a result of funding from Battersea and Wandsworth TUC. The GJA was launched to promote skills training and job creation to meet the needs of Britain’s rapidly growing low carbon sectors and to green the whole economy. The transition to a low carbon and resource efficient economy can drive sustainable economic recovery and job creation in every part of the country as well as making existing jobs more secure. But this requires a more strategic national and local approach to deliver the workforce skills needed and to stimulate demand for clean energy and energy efficiency services.
The Greener Jobs Alliance liaises at a national and local level to build the broadest possible support for the policies, investment, partnerships and commitments needed to drive the transition to a low carbon economy.
The Greener Jobs Alliance liaises with training bodies, colleges, universities, employers, local and national Government, trade unions, housing associations, campaign and community groups – to build the policies, investment and partnerships needed to drive the transition to a low carbon economy.
GJA ‘Free’ Courses:
The GJA runs a number of ‘free’ courses on the environment for Trade Union Reps in different parts of the UK which have been attended by a number of CWU Reps with details published in the newsletter.
The GJA now offer three ‘on-line’ courses as follows:
- Climate Change Awareness
This short introductory course is aimed at trade unionists and anyone wishing to develop their understanding of the issues around climate change. The course is divided into 4 modules. The modules contain background information, short videos, graphs and illustrations.
- Module 1: Climate Change Explained
- Module 2: International Responses
- Module 3: Trade Union Responses
- Module 4: Getting Involved
At the end of each section, there are references and links to additional materials if you want to go further. There are no formal tests and you can work through the materials at your own pace but there are optional quizzes to check your understanding at the end of modules 1, 2 and 3.
- A Trade Union Guide to Just Transition
Social justice must be at the heart of the development of a net-zero carbon economy. The course covers:
- The meaning and history of the term just transition
- Why it should be a priority issue
- UK and international policies and case studies
- Ideas for developing an action plan
It is aimed at trade unionists and anyone wishing to improve their understanding of why just transition should be central to climate change policy.
- Air Quality – a trade union issue
The following issues will be explored in this free online course. It is made up of 3 modules,
- Module 1: The Causes and Health Impacts of Air Pollution
- Module 2: The Law and Government Policy
- Module 3: Trade Union Responses and Campaigns
Link to GJA on-line Courses: https://greenerjobsalliance.co.uk/courses/
GJA Founder Graham Petersen:
The founder GJA Secretary and Newsletter editor was Graham Petersen who is well known to the CWU and has a long standing working relationship with the Union. He is a former TUC tutor and course designer who created safety reps training courses and the successful TUC Occupational Health & Safety Diploma Course. He was the head of the Trade Union Studies Centre at South Thames College before retirement from the post and has been a visitor and guest speaker at CWU events and meetings. After 30 editions, Graham stood down at the GJA AGM and handed over to Paul Atkin as newsletter editor and Tahir Latif as GJA Secretary. Graham remains a GJA Steering Group member and is now working part time for the Wales TUC having recently written a publication for them ‘Greener workplaces for a just transition – a Wales TUC toolkit for trade unionists’ which was circulated by the CWU Health, Safety and Environment Department.
Paul Atkin Editorial GJA Newsletter Issue 43 – ‘After the COP, now what?’
This edition takes up the need to link the cost of living crisis to the climate crisis, green bargaining officers, key transition issues in skills agenda for manufacturing and skills gaps, transforming the steel industry, how we can build capacity in the movement to negotiate on green transition in regions and workplaces, nature and education in the COP process and why gas is not a “transition fuel”.
In this month’s editorial Paul Atkin picks up on the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s recently announced five priorities being wrong and the failure to grasp the fact that the cost of living crisis, economy, health, housing and climate are linked with UK homes now paying, on average, £1,750 more for energy and
fuel annually than they would have if the Government had brought forward effective national campaigns on insulation, low-carbon heating and transport and domestic renewables.
He points out the important statement by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) as long ago as 2007 quote:- “Insulating existing houses led to a significantly warmer, drier indoor environment and … improved self-rated health, self-reported wheezing, days off school and work, and visits to general practitioners as well as a trend for fewer hospital admissions for respiratory conditions.” And, as Sir Michael Marmot stated in his 2011 Report “The Marmot Review into health inequalities” – “Living in a cold home can make you sick. ..older people are particularly vulnerable, with cold houses putting them more at risk of heart and lung disease as well as worsening conditions like arthritis and rheumatism. But… children and young people also suffer. Cold, poorly heated homes affect babies’ weight gain and increase the frequency and severity of asthmatic symptoms in children. Teenagers who live in cold houses are five times more likely to risk developing multiple mental health problems than adolescents who have always lived in warm homes.”
Paul rightly points out that investing in green transition generates revenue as well as being imperative for survival. Debt can be cut through investment that benefits the population. Inflation can be cut by reducing the price of travel on public transport and putting a 100% windfall tax on fossil fuel producers excess profits to keep energy bills low for people and workplaces and pay for the insulation that will keep them that way.
He concludes that with the prospect of a change of government by 2024 we need to nail down the policies we need in the plans and campaigning of opposition parties.
Contents GJA Newsletter 44
- Editorial – The “People’s Priorities”?
- Model Motion for Opposition Parties
- Bold Solutions
- Skills Crisis
- A future for sustainable UK steel making
- Role of Green Bargaining Officer
- GJA bringing initiatives together
- What is a Green Bargaining Officer
- Yorkshire and Humber TUC – climate change and Just Transition
- Green jobs future given boost by Welsh Labour government
- 30 by 30. Biodiversity COP15
- COP 27: Education recognised, but no new commitments
- Climate Impacts on Schools and Colleges UCU Film
- Green Bites – why gas is not a transition fuel
What is a just transition?
A just transition seeks to ensure that the substantial benefits of a green economy transition are shared widely, while also supporting those who stand to lose economically – be they countries, regions, industries, communities, workers or consumers.
A rapid increase in the speed and scale of actions required to reduce the risks of climate change will create new economic opportunities.
Whilst a just transition is mainly based on environmental considerations, it is also shaped by other structural changes affecting labour markets, such as globalisation, labour-saving technologies and the shift to services.
A just transition is an integral part of many of the global commitments adopted by countries. The Paris Agreement acknowledges “the imperatives of a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent work and quality jobs in accordance with nationally defined development priorities” and highlights the importance of workers in responding to climate change.
Furthermore, the just transition concept links to 14 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, explicitly drawing together SDGs 12 – climate action, 10 – reduced inequalities, 8 – decent work and economic growth, and 7 – affordable and clean energy.
Many countries have recognised the challenge that this transformation entails and are taking measures to protect those that are most vulnerable and affected by the changes, including across the EBRD regions.
- The European Union’s Just Transition Mechanism is integral to the EU’s Green Deal, targeted at ensuring “a fair transition to a climate-neutral economy, leaving no one behind” and aims to mobilise at least €150 billion over the period 2021-2027;
- The Solidarity and Just Transition Silesia Declaration signed by 50 countries at COP24, which states that: “a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent work and quality jobs are crucial to ensure an effective and inclusive transition”;
- Climate Action for Jobs Initiative, co-led by the International Labour Organisation, Spain and Peru, with 46 countries committing to develop “national plans for a just transition and create decent green jobs”.
- The UNFCCC Gender Action plan, whereby parties to the UNFCCC have recognized the importance of involving women and men equally in the development and implementation of national climate policies that are gender-responsive.
Note: COP28 is the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference. The conference is formally known as the ‘United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties’ and this is its 28th iteration. Given that the official title is a mouthful, it is shortened to COP28 which is short for the 28th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC. It’s will be held from 30 November until 12 December 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Quote of the Month:
“Our goal is to achieve zero deforestation in the Amazon and zero greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity matrix, in addition to encouraging the revitalisation of degraded pastures”
(New Brazilian President Lula Da Silva)
- See attached copy of the GJA Newsletter 44 for January 2023.
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer