Doha delays put people and the planet at risk

The crucial boost to deliver green and decent jobs will have to wait is the message governments are sending to the worlds working people today, as they close the climate change conference in Doha, Qatar.

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, ITUC, said despite weak expectations for this conference, the labour movement was convinced that recent scientific reports and the urgent need to transform economies could speed up the pace of negotiations.

“We leave this conference wondering when ambition will come back to the table. There will be no jobs in a dead planet, nor a Just Transition with this outcome” said Ms Burrow.

Governments agreed in Doha to establish a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol Kyoto Protocol The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement adopted in 1997 and linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It sets binding obligations on industrialised countries to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. ; however, the number of countries joining it and the overall ambition of the regime diminished as the COP 18 talks progressed.

Countries that have not joined Kyoto II have also watered down the prospects for a strong climate architecture in the future. The Doha negotiations did not provide any clarity on how developed country governments would mobilise the 100 billion US dollars committed for climate finance.

“The more we wait for having ambitious emission reduction objectives, the more the transition will be unfair. We need time to build a Just Transition, to put in place the social policies to help working people fully participate in a sustainable economy. Delays will make our task difficult, almost impossible. In order to be Just, the transition must start now, ” said Ms Burrow.

With green jobs and the planet at stake, the international labour movement is mobilising working people to make their voices heard and shift governments’ positions on climate change before 2015, the deadline agreed for adopting the next climate agreement.

The international trade union movement highlighted concerns about the treatment of migrant workers in Qatar to delegates and governments attending the UN climate talks.

“1.2 million migrant workers work are denied the right to form or join a trade union and work in modern day slavery conditions. Qatar must do the right thing and put in place international labour standards as set out by the ILO a UN agency,” said Ms Burrow.

Photo: World Resources