Globally, the climate crisis poses a serious and current challenge to humanity and in specific ways locally. Very simply, human industry has been producing massive amounts of carbon, especially since the Industrial Revolution, pumping unprecedented amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the planet’s atmosphere and thus causing global warming. For the first time in millennia, atmospheric CO2 levels breached their highest level in 1950 and have since then been increasing dramatically. Unquestionably, human activities globally (though unequally) are driving this massive change to the planet.
The effects of climate change are largely irreversible. They have been and will significantly alter, unequally, the everyday lives of every human being. Some of these are: loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise and longer, more intense heat waves. The implications of these massive changes on localised populations of people are dire. The Global South, including South Africa, are expected to suffer such effects more that in the Global North. This has more to do with wealth and access to mitigating solutions than it does with geography.
Governments have been meeting together about climate change concerns since 1995, the first Conference of the Parties (COP), held in Bonn, Germany, under the aegis of the United Nations (UN). The next such meeting (COP26) is set to meet in November this year, under very different and worsening climate conditions globally. The COP26 summit will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.Many trade unions and civil society organisations globally are rallying behind the Just Transition “solution”. But will it be enough? Will it be a “pipe dream” or a “silver bullet”? How can the devastation of our global climate be mitigated for the future? What role can labour organisations like trade unions play?
The launch of the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (RLS) and South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) Political School occurs against this background. The first Political School is an effort to engage labour on the issue of climate change to challenge both corporations and governments to move toward an understanding of climate change, its effects and possible solutions. In addition, to understand the implications of climate change on labour.
TOPIC: LABOUR, CLIMATE CHANGE AND A JUST TRANSITION
Date: 15 October 2021 | Venue: Zoom Webinar
09h00-09h05 Introduction: Sikho Luthango, Programme Manager for Labour Relations and Economy, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung
09h05-09h25 Introduction of SAFTU and Rosa Luxemburg Political School: Zwelinzima Vavi, SAFTU General Secretary
PANEL I: THE CHALLENGE OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE JUST TRANSITION
Facilitated by Ferron Pedro, Working Class Campaigns Co-ordinator and Educator, SAFTU
09h30-09h40 Professor Patrick Bond, Department of Sociology, University of Johannesburg: The Climate Crisis
09h40-09h50 Ferrial Adam, Environmental Activist and Researcher, Climate Justice Coalition: The “Deep” Just Transition
09h50-10h05 Question & Answer Session
PANEL II: ESKOM AND POWER
Facilitated by Trevor Shaku, Spokesperson, SAFTU
10h10-10h20 Ted Blom, Energy Expert: The Eskom Disaster
10h20-10h30 Dominic Brown, Economic Justice Programme Manager, Alternative Information and Development Centre: “Eskom Transformed Full Report”
10h30-10h40 Alex Lenferna, 350.org, A Green New Eskom
10h40-10h55 Question & Answer Session
PANEL III: TRADE UNIONS: A LOCAL AND GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Facilitated by Matthew Grant, SAFTU, Research and Policy Coordinator
11h10-11h20 Enos Mbodi, NUMSA, Commissioner in the Presidential Climate Commission
11h20-11h30 Sean Sweeney, Trade Unions for Energy Democracy:
The 26th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) and an International Trade Union Perspective on the Climate Crisis
11h30-11h45 Question & Answer Session
11h45-11h50 Closing Remarks: Mac Chavalala, SAFTU President