Warsaw farce provides one more reason for mobilizing on climate change

With climate change talks finally concluded after a massive civil society walkout on Thursday and a 36-hour long negotiation over an almost meaningless text, the trade union movement calls on working people to increase public pressure on governments.

“Climate change is real, is increasing in impact and will result in greater devastation, displacement, job loss and social despair if we don’t act. Hence we cannot allow governments to go to climate talks with such unambitious mandates,” said Sharan Burrow, the general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, which was amongst those leading the revolt of civil society. “Science cannot be clearer, but despite this nations have again put self-interest and short-termist behavior first.”

Warsaw climate talks approved texts that remain silent on the timeline for fulfilling the climate finance commitment of 100bn USD by 2020, or the means for increasing emission reduction commitments before 2020 – critical if we want to remain below 2°C in average temperature increase-.

“Trade unions, environmental and development organisations have shown in Warsaw that we still believe in democratic mandates and will not accept such behaviour in silence,” said Burrow, referring to the massive walkout on Thursday 21 November. “We must tell our people what is happening, and ensure governments do not go to Lima with low ambition.”

The labour movement will step up its efforts and mobilise to ensure working people demand climate action with investment in greening all industries to drive sustainable jobs supported by Just Transition measures – a critical strategy for ensuring workers are fully involved in the transformation needed to save our climate.

“Despite the outcome, we leave Warsaw full of hope and with the belief that what happened here will galvanise global determination and thus serve as the foundation for a people-led climate movement,” concluded Burrow.