Blog: Climate change is the greatest single threat humanity faces

Our whole world is facing an existential crisis – climate change. Unless action is taken to reduce emissions, drastic and permanent damage will be done to our planet with a disastrous impact on future generations.

This is the greatest single threat humanity faces. It’s time to stop talking and take real action.

I know that UNISON will continue to be at the forefront of fighting climate change. We were the first union to establish a green task force and we’ve initiated cutting-edge campaigns – as well as sending delegations to the climate change demonstrations in Copenhagen and Paris where governments were negotiating international targets.

This week, as young people demand politicians take seriously the damage being done to our planet and act to save its future – they will have our support.

We’ll be encouraging employees to reduce their own carbon footprints but more importantly ensure their employers have a plan to green their workplaces completely.

That way we can all begin to make a big difference quickly.

I know from work across our union – like in Scotland, where Green UNISON Day is already an annual fixture and will take place today (September 20th) – UNISON members are taking this seriously. But while it’s Scotland who are leading on this, there’s no reason why UNISON members across the UK can’t get involved. The NEC declared this week Green UNISON Week and up and down the country our branches have responded. From canteen stalls, solidarity selfies, new volunteers for branch green reps, tree planting and using lunch hours to join climate strike rallies.

Critical to the fight against climate change is the need for a just transition – where we work to deliver green solutions while defending jobs, working people and the worst off in society.

There is a simple and straightforward answer: public ownership of the energy retail market – that is those companies that sell energy to consumers. It would address the urgent need for action on climate issues by encouraging customers to focus on renewable alternatives, while also delivering a better deal for consumers.

Public ownership is the best solution for tackling climate change, keeping costs down for consumers and protecting jobs in the energy sector. Tackling the climate crisis demands that the government delivers a radical green new deal – and UNISON will fight to put public ownership at the heart of it.