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Campaign Against Climate Change newsletter

Trade Unions and Climate Change

The Age of Stupid – all eyes on Copenhagen!

The environment is changing rapidly. We face catastrophic climate change unless all Governments act now to reduce C02 emissions dramatically. In just a few years, extreme weather conditions such as:

  • Blizzard snows on the A38 that trapped 150 people;
  • Coastal and river floods in Devon;
  • Tornados in Birmingham;
  • Record dry periods and temperatures across Britain and Europe;
  • Raging fires across Australian and American villages and towns;
  • Drought across Sub-Saharan Africa; 
Map showing reduction in Arctic ice

will become common and daily occurrences.

The Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change is now clear that we cannot stop global temperature increase of 2 degrees, seeing major climate change, sea level rise and the extinction of around a third of plant and animal species. But latest observations of feedback processes that are accelerating the speed of warming include:

Rooftops of houses in Biloxi USA, showing above flood water
  • The speeding-up of melt of the Siberian permafrost with increasing emissions of the worst warming gas, methane;
  • The destruction of the Amazon to the point of becoming a net-emitter of C02 rather than a “sink” retainer;
  • The warming of oceans to the point where they cannot hold-down and contain any more C02, with nowhere else for it to go but into the atmosphere;
  • Faster glacial melt including the world’s main mountain ranges that store most of the sources of river water, creating terrible water shortages for the main centres of human settlement;
  • The slowing down of the Gulf Stream that keeps Britain warm;
  • The shift northwards of the Jet stream, changing the seasonal patterns of Europe and America;
  • The melt at the North Pole towards ice-free Arctic by 2020;
  • Melt at the Antarctic already changing environments in South America and Africa;

What sort of a world will our Grandchildren grow up in? There is no time to lose. Maximum pressure must be put on the World’s politicians to act now – reduce C02 emissions by 50% by 2020. No new coal-fired power stations, no continuation of road expansion and air travel – No to a third runway at Heathrow.

The Campaign against Climate Change, as part of the Broad Coalition Stop Climate Chaos and World Social Forum has called for the largest protest demonstration of all time to be held in London on December 5th 2009. Plymouth TUC has organised transport and activities in the lead-up to it. You can book a coach place now, for just £20 return (£30 on the day), leaving Plymouth Bretonside at 7am.

On Saturday 12th December, the largest world gathering ever will protest outside the meeting of the world’s leaders in Copenhagen, Denmark. They will be replacing the Kyoto Treaty with new world agreements on C02 reductions. They will have to agree crisis actions, as in the face of a World War, if they are to prevent climate shift and human catastrophe.

If the UK Government can spend £1,200,000,000,000 bailing out the banks and protecting the rich bankers and shareholders, they can spend as much on renewable energy production: wind farms, tidal power and electricity generation from the sun. They can afford to build new, energy efficient homes owned by the people; they can afford to create jobs insulating every home in the country. They can afford to provide cheap, efficient and accessible public transport to get the cars off the road. But will they?

Politicians only act when their vote is at risk. They only act when there is mass pressure to force them act. We need to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs to create the new infrastructure of a new, carbon neutral economy. Plymouth could be at the heart of civil engineering to produce wind and wave machines, and energy efficient transport. If there’s money to save bankers then there must be money to save the planet. Windmills


Never has there been a more urgent need for mass action. Everybody will count in bringing a message to them – stop emissions or destroy civilisation. Plymouth TUC will be in Copenhagen. Join Us. For a Sustainable Future!

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