Time for a global just transition!
It was the work of the International Trade Union Confederation which ensured that it was included in the Preamble of the Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2015. While much of the impetus has come from the global North, in its use within global forums it has started to integrate issues about climate justice which are enshrined in the UNFCCC.
Climate Justice and Just Transition at the Glasgow COP
COP26 will look at what each country has pledged to do to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement to limit temperature rises to 1.5C. The fears are that they will miss that target and the less ambitious one of 2C. Failure to avert climate breakdown would be disastrous for workers and the aspiration for a fair and sustainable world. Each country’s plans ought to show how it will create good quality green jobs and make their society more equal and inclusive – a just transition. If they do, we will see targets and policies to achieve these objectives.
Because plans for decarbonisation are all made at national level, the policies needed for just transition won’t feature strongly in the COP’s proceedings – for instance, mandatory decarbonisation by big polluters, Just Transition plans for sectors and enterprises, public ownership over energy systems and measures for social and economic justice.
Within the national plans (the Nationally Determined Contributions) a proper Just Transition Plan will be clear about the anticipated impacts on jobs, pay and conditions. They will set out whether their overall impacts will be regressive or progressive. In global terms it is important to examine whether taken together they can show equity between rich and poor countries in terms of ambition, speed and costs.
All the same, many of the topics which will be debated by the COP will be of vital importance for the prospects of a just transition for countries in the global South. These include Climate Finance, Loss and Damage and Carbon Markets.