FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 2, 2022
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Frontline Workers & Communities Demand Real Solutions at COP27
“Effective climate action should center the priorities of those first and most impacted”
Just Transition is the Opposite of Net Zero
SHARM EL-SHEIKH—From Nov. 6-18, 2022, the Just Transition Alliance (JTA) along with Central Florida Jobs with Justice (CFJwJ), Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ), and United Steelworkers Local 675 (USW 675) will take a delegation of frontline workers and community organizers to participate at the 2022 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP27–with the goal of forcing world leaders to abandon corporate schemes such as “net zero emissions,” and to embrace just transition strategies that address the needs and priorities of workers and communities hit hardest by climate change.
While just transition language was included in the Preamble to the Paris Agreement (as a non-binding goal), this concept is expected to come into greater focus during the 27th Conference of the Parties. This delegation of leaders from a variety of economic sectors will meet with international trade unions to discuss strategies that tackle critical issues of long-term employment, worker and community health, participatory policymaking and the reduction of industrial pollution loads necessary to stave off the worst impacts of the ecological crisis.
The delegation brings together rank-and-file leaders from a variety of backgrounds with one thing in common–they come from Indigenous, Black, Brown, migrant and poor white communities that are some of the first and worst impacted by the storms, floods, fires, droughts, pollution and pandemic associated with this ecological crisis.
“The just transition worker delegation will bring the voices of workers from different sectors of the economy, and that is exciting because we will have the opportunity to strategize together about how to build solidarity among workers and build a collective analysis to share with our communities,” says Edgar Franks, an organizer with Familias Unidas por la Justicia.
With COP27 negotiations focusing on corporate schemes under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement–such as carbon trading, carbon capture and storage, and forest carbon offsets–a broad array of social movements are rallying civil society forces to point out that such unproven measures will not only continue to harm the most vulnerable communities and workers, but also divert trillions of public dollars away from real solutions that tackle the root cause drivers of climate change. This delegation will work alongside the rest of the It Takes Roots coalition–Climate Justice Alliance, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Indigenous Environmental Network, Indigenous Climate Action and the Movement for Black Lives.
“This is a critical moment to come together and force state representatives at the UN to center the vision, voices and priorities of those workers and communities who are first and most impacted by climate change, so that we can effectively reduce both climate pollution and the direct harm faced by people everywhere,” says José Bravo, Executive Director of Just Transition Alliance. He adds, “Beware of corporate co-optation of the UN agenda–just transition principles require community-driven solutions which are the opposite of all these ‘net zero’ scams proposed at the COP.”
This just transition delegation from the U.S. will be in Sharm el-Sheikh from Nov. 6-18. Members will participate at side events inside COP27 as well as at the Nov. 12 International Day of Action.
More delegation quotes:
“The opportunity to stand with and learn from others also facing the double edged sword of working towards a sustainable climate without the loss of quality jobs is very important; reaching a global solution to impending job loss is inseparable from a global solution for our climate crisis,” says Norman Rogers, Second Vice President of USW Local 675.
“Climate impact will always be felt strongest by the most vulnerable communities and that includes immigrants who are forcibly having to uproot their lives to survive. We need to understand how climate is deeply tied to migration and develop infrastructure to create resilient communities in the face of climate disaster,” says Paula Muñoz, Organizer for Central Florida Jobs with Justice.
“Seeing first hand the impacts intensifying natural disasters are having on Florida and the Caribbean, it’s clear that these solutions being proposed not only don’t go far enough, but they don’t actually address the root causes of the crisis,” says Chris Furino, Organizer for Central Florida Jobs with Justice.
“We are here at COP 27 to draw a clear line in the sand between Just Transition strategies led by frontline communities and workers on one side, and corporate climate schemes such as CCS, Bioenergy, Nuclear Power, Forest Carbon Offsets and Hydrogen Fuels on the other. The world needs funding for real solutions like just transition, climate reparations and self-determination of Indigenous and frontline communities, and the UN needs to stop subsidizing more Net Zero nonsense!” says Ananda Lee Tan, Strategy Advisor for Just Transition Alliance.
About Just Transition Alliance
The Just Transition Alliance was founded in 1997 as a coalition of environmental justice organizations and labor unions. Together with frontline workers and communities who live along the fenceline of polluting industries, we organize to create healthy workplaces and communities. The Just Transition Alliance is a 501(c)3 organization based in San Diego, California. Learn more at http://www.jtalliance.org.
About Central Florida Jobs with Justice
Central Florida Jobs with Justice is a local coalition of labor unions, community organizations, faith and student groups that convene on strategies to achieve economic justice for workers within the state of Florida. Through research and community organizing, Central Florida Jobs with Justice promotes collective bargaining rights, employment security, and a decent standard for all workers within the state of Florida. Learn more at https://cfjwj.org.
About Familias Unidas por la Justicia
Familias Unidas por La Justicia is an independent farm worker union of indigenous families located in Burlington, Washington representing over 500 Triqui, Mixteco, and Spanish speaking workers at Sakuma Bros. Berry Farm. Familias Unidas formed in 2013 with the hopes of securing a better future for hand harvesters in the local berry fields of Whatcom and Skagit Counties in Washington State. Nearly four years later, on September 12, 2016, Familias Unidas won a historic secret ballot election ushering in a new era for farm worker justice in Washington State. Familias Unidas is led by a leadership team including Ramon Torres, President, and Felimon Pineda, VP. Learn more at https://familiasunidasjusticia.com.
About United Steelworkers Local 675
United Steelworkers Local 675 is an Amalgamated Union representing workers in the oil, chemical, bedding, carwash, paper and electric bus manufacturing industries. USW Local 675 was a founding member of the Just Transition Alliance and has worked to build alignment with environmental justice communities over the past three decades. Learn more at http://www.usw675.org.