Blog: Climate change – The window of opportunity is closing – Guest post by Ronagh Craddock

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Tackling climate change is one of UNISON’s key objectives. It is a core issue for our members, both in their workplaces and communities.

The United Nations (UN) body for assessing climate change science (IPCC) published their latest report this week. The report is a stark warning on the reality of the scale of the challenge and the rapidly closing window of opportunity to address the problem.

The key take away is that we have less time than we thought to do everything we know we have to do. Without drastic and urgent action, global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C will be exceeded this century.

In summary we are getting very close to the moment that it is too late.

World leaders meet for the next international climate change meeting (COP26) in Glasgow this November. We cannot underestimate the importance of bold pledges to commit emissions being made at COP26. We all have a role in building the public demand on our governments for ambitious pledges that are in line with what science demands.

Even more important is the action that follows COP26. We know there will be a gap between actions and pledges. Our job has to be to organise and mobilise to keep the pressure on to demand action and accountability.

We have to give credit to the youth climate movement for the brilliant work they have done in recent years to escalate climate change up the agenda.  We need to support their work by mobilising increasing numbers of people and prioritising the climate crisis in our every day work. For example as a trade union this means making climate action part of our key negotiating and bargaining agenda.

Throughout 2020 we hosted a UNISON Northern virtual series, Green Jobs Secure Futures, to drive a solutions focused conversation around climate change. During the events we heard from fantastic speakers about significant positives that will result from tackling climate change through a fully funded just transition: good quality jobs, better and affordable public transport and quality affordable housing were some of them. It is therefore in all of our interests to make this happen.

UNISON will be running a Green UNISON week in September 2021 and we are supporting the COP26 coalition mobilisation efforts. If you are a UNISON member and would like to join our regional climate network please register below.

Register now

Ronagh Craddock