Bonn Climate Talks - Better Options on the Table, but More Needed

Trade unions remain concerned about the likely outcome of the Paris Climate Summit with the end of the final round of pre-Summit climate negotiations last Friday in Bonn, Germany. An appallingly weak text proposed by the Bonn meeting’s Co-Chairs was improved by the insistence of some countries for more ambitious options, but the result falls short of what is needed.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said, “Research shows that governments are embarking on a dangerous path. The scenario of a 3°C+ rise in global temperatures – the outcome of adding all the country pledges – will mean job losses and a development crisis.”

Trade unions announced their three key priorities for the UN Paris Climate Conference at the Trade Union Climate Summit in September, including a strong mechanism for reviewing country plans based on equity, more ambition on climate finance and a commitment to secure a “just transition” for workers impacted by change, especially in those industries undergoing major transformation due to climate policies.

“The negotiating text now better captures our concerns, but we are worried, since the opposition to higher ambition is still clear. We need to urgently mobilise to secure a better outcome,” said Burrow.

More specifically, unions welcomed a last-minute move from some governments to rescue the commitment to a “just transition” in the operational part of the agreement, which was about to be deleted.

“Despite civil society representatives being ousted from the negotiating rooms, we know who is trying to undermine social justice in this process and which governments are standing up for people. Unions will not stay silent as some negotiators continue to ignore their national mandates for supporting a “just transition”. We have welcomed the public commitment made by President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil to a “just transition”. It appears that the Brazilian climate negotiators in particular are determined to undermine both their president and the vulnerable workers and communities of the world,” said Burrow.

Read the ITUC Frontlines Briefing: Climate justice: Paris and Beyond

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