Urgent action needed on climate crisis

Conference recognised that climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the world today and trade unions are at the heart of demanding climate justice and a just transition away from fossil fuels to more sustainable energy sources.

It backed a call from the NEC for UNISON to drive forward campaigning on climate justice and for the decarbonisation of public services.

This is a key issue for UNISON Scotland as we have long been campaigning for a just transition and climate justice and we were at the forefront of campaigning at COP 26 in Glasgow.

Moving the motion, Scotland NEC member, Stephen Smellie warned that the climate crisis is here now and it is the biggest crisis that we have ever faced.

“It is linked to, and underpins the COVID, and Cost of Living crises and has the same roots as all of these,” said Stephen.

“That is an economic system based on profit, that seeks to exploit all natural resources and workers for the benefit of the few, with no regard to the consequences.

“And the consequences are stark,” he said, warning that even if all the world’s governments deliver on their voluntary Nationally Determined Contributions that they reported on at COP26, global temperatures will still rise to at least 2.4 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

He called on our union to make good on our commitment to be a Green union and called on branches, regions and all other parts of our structures to act to make sure we take forward the Green agenda.
Scotland’s amendment highlighted that whilst promoting individual action to combat climate change is important, collective action and social change are essential if man made climate change is to be tackled effectively; and public services will be crucial to doing so.

Moving, Scotland Regional rep, Lilian Macer urged delegates to keep the need to cut carbon emissions and move to a more sustainable way of living, high on the agenda.

“This is an issue for all in society but is particularly important for our union,” said Lilian.

She commended UNISON’s report, “Getting to net zero in public services”, the launch of which she was privileged to chair during COP26. It identifies 21 measures that should be taken by our public services.

“This motion deserves our attention and our action,” urged Lilian, “Because the crisis is real and urgent.”