New year, new struggle: the transformation must begin in 2024
Photo by Mick Holder
Resolution for 2024: move the climate debate on. As COP28 has amply demonstrated, it simply isn’t enough to wait for the elites to come around to the realisation that the impact of climate change is far greater on other people than it is on them. Communities are in the firing line, whole countries in the Global South are under threat and, relevant to us in the Greener Jobs Alliance, future employment in the UK and worldwide needs to be secured for the long term.
So, we need to move the climate debate on. That means agreeing, taking as read and focusing instead on how we deal with, some of the fundamentals. That climate change is happening, that it is with us now not in the future, that it’s impact on peoples across the world is simply unacceptable. Most important of all, that we are already fully aware of both the causes and the solutions – do we really need to debate these again in the coming year?
There may be nuances in, for example, just what an energy system should look like, or the place of different modes of transport within an integrated network. But that we need to transition to renewables and transform how we travel, both as soon as possible, must be taken as givens not prevaricated over ad infinitum. Such debates are redundant, the thing that matters is how we get from where we are now to where we know we need to be, and then just do it.
In this year when an election will most likely bring a change of government, our demand of that government, as both a climate movement and a trade union movement, needs to be: show us how you’re going to make that transformation, show us the plan, show us how you will protect workers job security, and show us that you recognise that dealing with climate is the same thing as fixing the economy. Show us you can see the links.
With Labour currently backing off from its commitment to the £28Bn pledge, our trade unions must come together to pressure the Labour leadership to make it happen. It’s the one policy they have that can unlock everything else. Putting that money into a decisive shift to renewables is how we’ll ensure workers jobs in the long term. All trade unions need to agree that it’s the guarantee of jobs that matters, whether those workers currently have now, those involved in managing a rapid transition asap or those in the renewable sector that we ultimately create. A plan for securing those jobs should be workers’ key demand.
The General motion for climate action makes these basic trade union arguments and we would all urge all branches and regions to pass it before the conference season commences, so that it can be heard at this year’s TUC.
For all of us, whether campaigners, activists or trade unionists, we can’t waste another year carrying on the same old debates. We need to move on, and in 2024 that means putting all our energies into making things actually happen. That must be our resolution. Happy new year and solidarity.
Greener Jobs Alliance