Open thread for night owls: The AFL-CIO takes a stronger stand on climate change

Jeremy Brecher at Common Dreams writes—The New AFL-CIO Stand on Climate Change:

At its Quadrennial Convention in late October, the AFL-CIO unanimously adopted a resolution on “Climate Change, Energy, and Union Jobs.” The resolution says that the fastest and most equitable way to address climate change is for “labor to be at the center of creating solutions that reduce emissions while investing in our communities, maintaining and creating high-wage union jobs, and reducing poverty.”

If acted on, the resolution will bring about significant changes in organized labor and will bring American trade unions into far closer alignment with allies in the climate protection movement.

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The resolution starts with the facts of global warming. It acknowledges “the overwhelming scientific consensus” that climate warming is “due to human activities” and that higher global temperatures will trigger “irreversible changes in our climate,” causing “a rise in sea levels

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storm surges, an increase in droughts and extreme weather events, a substantial threat of increased extinctions, decreased food security in some regions, and an increase in heat-induced health problems.”

The resolution turns next to the social justice dimensions of climate change. “Workers, communities of color and low-income Americans suffer disproportionately from environmental degradation and climate change” through “polluted air, water and land,” and from “drought and extreme weather events.” It cites Pope Francis and other religious leaders on the “moral imperative to address both climate change and poverty.”

The resolution notes that tens of thousands of union members work in industries that rely on fossil fuels or live in regions where fossil fuels are “the primary economic driver in their communities.” Like all workers, they have a right to “a strong, viable economic future” including good jobs at union wages and benefits. It cites the Paris Agreement on “the imperative of a just transition” of the workforce and “decent work and quality jobs” when addressing climate change. It resolves to fight politically and legislatively “to secure and maintain employment, pensions and health care” for workers affected by changes in the energy market. […]

The AFL-CIO has never endorsed science-based targets and timetables for greenhouse gas reduction. This resolution still fails to do so.

The AFL-CIO has also long endorsed an “all the above” energy policy which does not advocate for the transition to fossil-free energy at all, let alone on a timetable necessary to protect against catastrophic climate change. This resolution endorses renewable energy and energy efficiency, but also carbon capture and storage and nuclear power. It does not call for even a reduction in the burning of fossil fuel. […]

TOP COMMENTSHIGH IMPACT STORIES

QUOTATION

“Ever since the development of political machinery and bureaucratic organizations among Indians, there has been a sudden perspective of women—and the roles of women—as second-class citizens. The basic reason for discrimination against Indian women stems from the federal government’s intervention in Indians affairs.”
               
~Annie Dodge Wauneka (Navajo) in Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies (1981)

TWEET OF THE DAY

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BLAST FROM THE PAST

At Daily Kos on this date in 2004Don’t Mourn, Organize:

Why were we in this fight in the first place? Because terrible leaders are doing terrible things to our country and calling this wonderful. Because radical reactionaries are trying to impose their imperialist schemes on whoever they wish and calling this just. Because amoral oligarchs are determined to enhance their slice of the economic pie and calling this the natural order. Because flag-wrapped ideologues want to chop up civil liberties and call this security. Because myopians are in charge of America’s future. 

We lost on 11/2. Came in second place in a crucial battle whose damage may still be felt decades from now. The despicable record of our foes makes our defeat good reason for disappointment and fear. Even without a mandate over the past four years, they have behaved ruthlessly at home and abroad, failing to listen to objections even from members of their own party. With the mandate of a 3.6-million vote margin, one can only imagine how far their arrogance will take them in their efforts to dismantle 70 years of social legislation and 50+ years of diplomacy. 

Still, Tuesday was only one round in the struggle. It’s only the end if we let it be. I am not speaking solely of challenging the votes in Ohio or elsewhere – indeed, I think even successful challenges are unlikely to change the ultimate outcome, which is not to say I don’t think the Democrats should make the attempt. And I’m not just talking about evaluating in depth what went wrong, then building on what was started in the Dean campaign to reinvigorate the grassroots of the Democratic Party, although I also think we must do that. I’m talking about the broader political realm, the realm outside of electoral politics that has always pushed America to live up to its best ideals and overcome its most grotesque contradictions. […]

It’s tough on the psyche to be beaten.Throughout our country’s history, abolitionists, suffragists, union organizers, anti-racists, antiwarriors, civil libertarians, feminists and gay rights activists have challenged the majority of Americans to take off their blinders. Each succeeded one way or another, but not overnight, and certainly not without serious setbacks. 

After a decent interval of licking our wounds and pondering what might have been and where we went wrong, we need to spit out our despair and return � united – to battling those who have for the moment outmaneuvered us. Otherwise, we might just as well lie down in the street and let them flatten us with their schemes.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: There was just too much insightful push-back on the Donna Brazile story to let things go. And then, there was Armando. We learn once again that the key moments in politics aren’t always the sexy ones. Truth is, you just gotta keep showing up. Forever.

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