Climate Change

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Conference
2005 National Delegate Conference
Date
22 February 2005
Decision
Carried as Amended

Conference notes the statement of the chairperson of the intergovernmental panel on climate change, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, warning that global warming is nearing a point of no return and calling for very deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

We further note that the United States and Australia continue to refuse to ratify the seven year old Kyoto agreement, whilst most signatories are set to exceed agreed emissions quotas.

Conference recognises the significant signs of climate change. We have already lost at least a quarter of coral reefs, 40 per cent of the Arctic icesheet, and ever more species face extinction. Global warming increases the frequency and intensity of natural disasters, threatens vital resources and spreads water-borne diseases.

Conference notes recent research and conferences undertaken by major corporations from insurance, oil and pharmaceutical industries to discuss models of climate shift. Companies are investing heavily in the potential new markets created by global warming, indicating recognition and acceptance of major changes in the near future. Further, the Pentagon has put in place military strategy for social control at home and abroad in the event of major environmental disasters. Most authorities now agree that climate shift will occur, and are adopting policies based upon adaptation and mitigation rather than prevention. Whilst no one can say exactly when runaway global warming will be triggered, spikes in atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide observed over the last two years suggest that we do not have long.

Conference acknowledges that the next round of negotiations over the Kyoto protocol and further international agreements on greenhouse emissions begins in November 2005. There is still time to prevent climate shift.

Conference believes that, as debate at the 2005 World Social Forum concluded, use of fossil fuels should be severely limited towards non-use as quickly as possible. The increase of carbon particulates in the atmosphere, known as global dimming, has been linked to the prevention of rain from monsoon clouds in Ethiopia resulting in famine, and in Nepal threatening the entire Sherpa community. Carbon trading is not a solution and should not be supported. Instead, the immediate development of the huge potential for renewable energy sources, in particular solar energy, combined with the democratic planning of trade, transport, housing and public services are the only rational solutions to this pending crisis.

Conference believes that maximum pressure must be brought to bear on the G8 group of governments and major transnational corporations to implement the Kyoto agreement to the full and produce an urgent programme for immediate deep cuts in greenhouse emissions, with a priority for state investment in solar energy. UNISON should take every action available within the rules of the union.

Conference therefore resolves to:

1)work with environmental pressure groups, including Friends of the Earth International, International Action Against Climate Change and Britain’s Campaign Against Climate Change to publicise the issues;

2)join the call for action against carbon emissions at the demonstration and events outside the G8 summit at Gleneagles, Scotland in July 2005;

3)support the call for a range of public campaign and protest actions in Britain and across the world in November 2005 as part of the campaign to reduce carbon emissions;

4)work with environmental pressure groups to challenge and expose the sceptics of global warming.

Conference also resolves to instruct the National Executive Council to conduct environmental impact assessments across the entire range of its activities, to seek to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions which result from these activities, to seek to ensure that all parts of the union do likewise, and that this is reflected in all of UNISON’s bargaining and campaigning.