Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union Group plans second conference

The huge social and economic changes that are needed to dramatically reduce carbon emissions are of vital interest to trade unionists, as are the methods by which they can be achieved. This conference is a chance to engage and debate with each other on these crucial issues. Campaigners and researchers from the trade union movement will address a series of workshops on a variety of related issues (writes Pete Shield).

We are also hosting three forums to examine crucial debates for those concerned about the environment. The discussions around the future for nuclear power, coal and aviation are controversial ones within our movement. We hope that these debates will help clarify the issues for delegates.

As the world looks forward to the signing of the Kyoto Treaty’s replacement later this year, our closing plenary will look at proposals for a new treaty and how trade unionists can support and join the international protests calling on world governments to sign a climate treaty that will have social justice at its heart.

Registration (10am-11am)
Admission £10 (£5 concessions)
King’s College London, Franklin-Wilkins Building, Stamford Street, London SE1
Entrance on Stamford Street, London SE1
This venue is fully accessible. Nearest stations: Waterloo tube and rail

Send cheques payable to “Campaign Against Climate Change” to: CCC TU Conference, PO Box 417, Prestwich, Manchester M45 0AP

For more information on the CCC Trade Union group contact:
Martin 079 585 35 231 or Roy 0780 1263 265 or email

Speakers include

Chris Baugh (PCS), Tony Kearns (CWU), Jean Lambert MEP, Ian Lavery (NUM), Mark Lynas, John McClean (GMB), John McDonnell MP, Caroline Molloy, Ann Pettifor, Dave Prentis (UNISON), Phil Thornhill (CCC), Matt Wrack (FBU)

Affiliated unions include CWU, Connect, FBU, PCS, RMT and UCU

Opening plenary (11am-12pm)
Trade unions and climate change – are we making progress? Dave Prentis, General Secretary, UNISON, Matt Wrack, General Secretary FBU, Chris Baugh, Assist. General Secretary PCS, Barry Lovejoy, UCU, John McClean, National Officer GMB, Phil Thornhill, National Coordinator CCC
Workshops (12pm-1.30pm)

1. What future for coal? Speakers: Ian Lavery, President of the NUM and Paul Morrozo of Greenpeace
Coal is often cited as a dirty fuel, one that we need to use less of in future if we are to change the trend towards global warming. But what will happen to the communities dependent on this industry and what about carbon capture technologies: can they really clean up emissions? Can coal provide clean energy as well as much needed jobs?

2. What future for nuclear power? Speakers: Martin Empson, author of Climate Change – why nuclear power is not the answer and Mark Lynas, author of Six Degrees – our future on a hotter planet. Moving away from carbon intensive power generation is key to dealing with the question of long term climate change, but to what extent should nuclear power be part of the energy mix? Those in favour argue it is carbon neutral. Opponents point out problems with waste and other dangers. Come and take part in the debate about this key issue.

3. What future for Aviation? Speakers: John McClean, GMB, John McDonnell MP Aviation is set to further increase carbon emissions, so how will the government plan to reduce the total amount to 80% of 1990 levels by 2050? With the threat of climate crisis, the current economic recession, and uncertainty regarding the supply and cost of fuel, what role will aviation play in the economic, employment and environmental future of our lives? Can the aviation industry become part of an integrated transport and business plan that offers new sustainable employment opportunities? We have chosen to present forums rather than debates to enable fraternal discussion on the key facts and arguments around these vitally important issues, rather than simply a polarised exchange.

Forums (2.15pm-3.45pm)
A. Workplace environment reps Speakers: Paul Hampton, Labour Research Department, Graham Petersen, Unison Environment Rep: The speakers join current environment reps from around the country to discuss theory and practice of being an environment rep and how you can become one too.

B. Fighting for a just transition Speakers: Danny Faith GMB Branch Secretary Heathrow (pc), Caroline Molloy, Researcher– Environment Unite: If ‘dirty’ carbon polluting industries close what happens to the workers? How do we move to a low carbon economy in a socially just way? What are the implications for the unions?

C. Towns and cities Speakers: Sarah Parker, Glyn Robbins, Over fifty percent of humanity lives in cities. This workshop looks at the strategies and solutions urban populations can use to deal with climate change.

D. Economics of climate change Speakers: Ann Pettifor, co-author Green New Deal, Graham Turner, author The Credit Crunch How will the economic situation impact on attempts to stop climate change? Will a recession mean reduced emissions? Can investment in green industries and jobs be part of the economic solution?

E. Food production, diets and climate change Speakers: Esme Choonara, co-author Hunger in a World of Plenty, Jayant Patel, Vegetarian Society, Jackie Simpkins, War on Want: Food production and distribution is a major contributor to climate change. We discuss the changes we need to implement for a just global food system.

F. How can we make transport sustainable? Speakers include: Jason Torrance, Sustrans Is there a realistic alternative to private cars? This workshop will look at how we can change the way we commute and travel to reduce the impact of transport on the environment?

G. International perspectives post-Kyoto Speakers: Joseph Healey Green Party, Philip Pearson, TUC Senior Policy Officer Climate Change. We need international agreement and action on climate change but Kyoto failed. How can we get an international agreement which is effective, equitable and just?

H. Are renewables a solution to climate change? Speakers: Dave Elliott Open University, Nick Rau Friends of the Earth.Renewable energy generation is part of most plans to deal with climate change. This session will examine the prospects for renewable energy generation and whether it could provide all our power needs.

I. Methods of struggle Speakers: John Jordan, Climate Camp, Tony Kearns, CWU, John Stewart, HACAN. The Climate Camps have demonstrated the vibrant and imaginative approach to campaigning of
many young activists. What can the trade union movement learn from them and they from us?

Closing plenary (4.00pm-5.00pm)

Towards Copenhagen
Tony Kearns, Senior Deputy General Secretary CWU, John McDonnell MP, Jean Lambert, Green Party MEP, Jonathan Neale, Campaign against Climate Change. The last session of the day will take contributions from the floor, so anyone who wants to speak will get the chance. Our final guest speakers will draw together major themes of the conference and will give thoughts and guidance on the lead up to Copenhagen.

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3 Comments on Campaign Against Climate Change Trade Union Group plans second conference

  1. The Unions and many socialists are a bunch of hypocrites when it comes to climate change. They need to either come onboard fully to the campaign and forget the idea of trying to protect the old polluting industries, or they should be kicked out environmental campaign groups.

    It is pretty disgusting to see union leaders trying to justify their positions by supporting the expansion of Heathrow, or advocating cash to save a car manufacturer, whilst at the same time claiming be green.

    Socialists and Capitalists are full of bull on these important issues.

    The fact that the debates written about here include the use of coal and the future of aviation, just proves that socialists are totally out of touch with what is required and the changes that need to happen. Unionists are some of the most conservative people on the planet with a significant resistance to change. But change is crucial!

    The sad thing is that those on the right like to paint environmentalists as being ‘on the left’. This really sickens me and many others, because nothing could be further from the truth.

    If you want to be green and you want a secure long term future, then you need to accept that jobs are going to change and disappear, life and culture are going to change.

    Dump the old politics and dump the socialist ideology, there is no future for them.

  2. Hi Berry,

    Take another look at the article. Some union leaders are supporting the campaign against climate change, and others are on the other side. The unions that back the campaign have a pretty good record. But the same debate is going on in the unions and political parties as in the rest of society. Refusing to debate with trade unions who won’t agree with us will prevent us from winning the wider agreement and unity we need.

    Different socialists say different things about the environment. Socialist Resistance has a ecosocialist approach, which means we think that we need to reduce the use of aviation, internal combustion and fossil fuels through a massive change in society. Read our views in more detail here:


  3. Hi there Berry,
    sure there are lots of conservative types in the union movement. But,like any other movement,it is not monolithic and all members of the union movement do not share the same productivist views. For an example of a pioneering green unionist have a read of John Tulley’s article about Jack Mundey,an Australian trade unionist who was a leader of the Builders Labourers Federation.

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