Global Climate Strike

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

26 September 2019

Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED) is pleased to host union representatives and allies from around the world and across the United States in New York during “Climate Week” for a one-day international conference: The Green New Deal, Net-Zero Carbon, & The Crucial Role of Public Ownership, on Saturday, September 28th, 2019.

Despite constant headlines about ‘record-setting’ deployment of wind and solar, fossil fuel use continues to expand. Emissions are still rising, at a time when they need to be falling fast. The Green New Deal discussion in the US and elsewhere has raised expectations for ambitious decarbonization targets. This has led to calls to extend public ownership over energy, and particularly electricity generation.

This international conference may be the first of its kind to bring together labor and key allies to work concretely towards a comprehensive reclaiming of energy systems to public ownership and democratic control, and to reform and “de-marketize” existing public energy companies, in order to reverse current energy consumption and emissions trends.

The one-day conference will take place Saturday, September 28th, 2019, at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies in mid-town Manhattan. Nearly 40 unions and labor federations from around the world will take part, with representatives from more than a dozen countries in attendance. The full program is available here.

“The investor-focused approach to the energy transition that’s been at the heart of climate policy for more than a decade has completely failed,” said Sean Sweeney, TUED Coordinator, in explaining the context of the conference. “The world is completely off-track to avoid catastrophic climate change, and we can’t wait any longer. Fortunately, unions and their allies around the world increasingly recognize that only comprehensive public ownership and democratic control of energy gives us a chance to achieve the scale of change needed in the time available.”

According to Irene HongPing Shen, TUED’s Outreach Coordinator, “Unions and others increasingly recognize that programs like the ‘Green New Deal’ simply can’t be done on a piecemeal or ‘outsourced’ basis, but require a comprehensive, integrated, planned program in order to meet climate goals and minimize already devastating damage to frontline communities globally. There’s also a growing understanding across this movement that addressing racial, gender, economic and other inequities won’t ever happen without a fundamental systemic shift like public ownership.”

“At a time when young people are issuing such a powerful call for the rest of us to show up and help protect their futures, the labor movement is increasingly taking seriously the failure of existing climate policy,” said John Treat, TUED’s Special Intiatives Coordinator. “Unions bring an unparalleled body of skill, institutional capacity and political weight to bear in confronting that stark reality and working out the concrete details of alternative approaches like the Green New Deal.”

“The young people are absolutely right, and we as labor need to be working together with our movement allies to develop the concrete plans that can at least give us a chance of reaching meaningful climate targets, and of giving young people back the future that’s being stolen from them,” said Treat.

Many of the union representatives participating in the conference are in New York City for TUED’s two-day strategic retreat, which is being held September 26th and 27th at 32BJ SEIU.

The meeting is being organized in partnership with: National Nurses United (NNU)New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA)United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE)Canadian Union of Public EmployeesNational Union of Public and General Employees (Canada)Transnational InstituteThe Democracy CollaborativeScience for the PeopleDSA’s Ecosocialist Working Group#NationalizeGridOur Public Power (New York)New York Communities for Change.

The conference Eventbrite page is here, but please note that registration is full. New registrations will be added to a waiting list.

The event will be live streamed on the Murphy Institute Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MurphyInstituteCUNY/