Mary Church FoE Scotland: The transition from fossil fuels to a zero-carbon economy must be achieved without the chaos experienced by the 1980s coal industry, writes Mary Church of Friends of the Earth Scotland. As the world starts to switch from fossil fuels to a zero-carbon economy, key sectors could be pitched into the kind of turmoil experienced by Scotland’s miners in the 1980s with communities ripped apart as people lost their jobs and mass unemployment set in. However, although the issue doesn’t feature on the official agenda, one of the main themes at the 23rd United Nations climate summit underway in Bonn is the idea of how to bring about a “just transition” that would avoid this bleak prospect from becoming a reality. While official negotiations focus on contentious issues of the implementation of the Paris Agreement – in a process in which historic and current global injustices are always strongly present – numerous side events are highlighting the need for action to ensure that workers and communities dependent on high-carbon industries are not left behind in the move to zero-carbon economies. The trade union-crafted concept was cemented in the 2015 Paris Agreement’s preamble, which called for “a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent work and quality jobs” in the context of urgently needed emission reductions and adaptation to the impacts of climate change. What is particularly exciting and inspiring is the diversity and strength of the movement coming together to call for a just transition.
Scotsman 15th Nov 2017 read more »