COP24 closes with deal but not enough ambition to tackle climate crisis. Government commitments to Just Transition are key to climate action

The COP24 climate talks in Katowice closed following complicated negotiations. A deal was reached on the rulebook for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, but it lacks the urgency and ambition required to stop dangerous climate warming.

“While this deal is crucial to keep the Paris Agreement alive, it did not deliver a deal that IPCC scientists said is urgently necessary, and it did not deliver a deal with the urgency required to secure a sustainable future for working people.

“Governments should commit to ambition, but we see that loopholes are being created, responsibilities avoided, decisions delayed and rights sidelined. Irresponsible short-term economic and national interests are blocking the progress we need to save humanity from hothouse earth,” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary.

The ITUC welcomed the initiative of the Polish COP Presidency to present and adopt the “Solidarity and Just Transition Silesia Declaration” at COP24. Fifty-three countries and the European Commission have signed the declaration.

By adopting the Silesia declaration, countries are committing to take seriously the impact of climate change and climate policies on workers, their families and communities when they prepare and implement their new nationally determined contributions, national adaptation plans and national long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies.

“We call upon all countries to sign the ‘Solidarity and Just Transition Silesia Declaration’ so that we leave no one behind. Assuring a Just Transition for workers, their families and communities and providing decent work for all are crucial to get the climate ambition we need.

“The ITUC and its affiliates are committed to being partners in a Just Transition to secure decent jobs on a living planet. At the national level we want Just Transition policies to be implemented. At the global level the work needs to continue in the ‘Forum on the impact of the implementation of response measures under the Paris Agreement’ and the Katowice Committee of Experts that was set up at COP24,” said Burrow.

The trade union movement welcomes the initiative of the UN Secretary General to convene a Climate Summit in September 2019 to enhance climate ambition and the provision of financial support for developing countries.

“Just Transition must be high on the agenda of the Summit. At the COP in Katowice it has become clear to many parties that taking the social dimension of climate policies fully into account will be the key enabler of the climate ambition we all urgently need,” said Burrow.