Jennings at OECD Forum: “Toxic Trump is on the wrong side of history”

During an OECD panel in Paris this week, ‘Climate strategies in a connected world’, UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings called out Donald Trump for his shortsighted actions and urged world leaders for a change of mindset on climate change.

“Toxic Trump is on the wrong side of history,” said Jennings. “He will make America sicker again. The labour movement is very clear, from Pittsburgh to Paris, we will be even more determined that this man does not turn the world into a toxic swamp. Trump does not represent the American people on climate change, as exemplified by a letter in support of the Paris agreement, representing 120 million Americans and $6.2 trillion of the US economy.”

“The labour movement is in step with the OECD Secretary General Jose Angel Gurria  who has issued a strong statement  urging the US government to reconsider its decision and calling on all governments to step up their efforts to combat climate change. There is clear consensus: Trump is getting it wrong. The rest of the world wants a new approach in the way we deal with climate and industrial change. However, we must not forget the lessons learned from the industrial upheaval of the past. In Wales, it took communities a generation to recover from the decimation of the coal industry. We must not leave communities stranded that need a just transition”

“Climate action means jobs and that is the consensus. The ILO estimate that 15 – 60 million jobs could be created, the UN FAO found that 200 million jobs could be created and a UNEP, ILO, ITUC report predicted that 48 million jobs could be created.”

In his comments on the OECD panel, Jennings said the private sector was reacting but hit out at the lack of investment in climate change strategy by the private sector, “We have billions sitting in balance sheets and hundreds of billions spent on share buybacks, – this money should be invested in ensuring we reach a carbon-free world. We are in a race and time is running out. This cannibalization of assets must stop.”

“We cannot just leave the greening of the economies to the market to resolve – we need a transformation in all kind of processes – energy, transport, construction, manufacturing and services.

ennings said unless we met the twin challenges of climate and digital change the impact on the world of work would be dramatic.

“Business as usual is no answer as extreme weather events increase and global warming breaks new records. 1.4 billion of the world’s workforce – or 42 % of the total global workforce – work in heavily water dependent sectors. Drought, coastal erosion, lower rainfall and other emerging threats put all these jobs at risk.”

“In 2016, 22 million people were displaced because of climate change – by 2050, this number could reach 200 million. To make a green, sustainable future happen, we need a just transition with a voice for working people.”

“We must change this economic model that has brought inequality, financial volatility and climate degradation. This model is unsustainable in environmental, social and economic terms. We will fight for a just transition. Climate change can mean jobs, it requires investment in our communities, the opportunity for reskilling and training and needs a seat at the table for the people, but we must fight for it.

“The global labour movement stands with NGOs, civil societies and government who are seeking to deal with climate change. We must make it responsible, make it just and make it real.”