Over 150 countries are expected to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change at the UN in New York today. It is the first time the USA and China will sign a global climate agreement. With the signing of the agreement, each country must also submit a proposal for action. The Paris Agreement was criticised by trade unions and environmental organisations for its lack of ambition and for not including binding (only voluntary) targets. However there was recognition that the agreement and the national action plans are a starting point from which unions can negotiate and make demands on their governments.
While it will take time for countries to ratify the agreement, Canadian unions have already put forward their proposals, working with environmental, indigenous, faith and community groups to develop a one million climate jobs plan for Canada. The Canadian Labour Congress is calling on the Canadian government to invest about $81 billion over five years in green infrastructure. Through strategic infrastructure investments in public transit, renewable energy and green building retrofits, the federal government could create more than one million climate jobs and reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions by one-third over 10 years. The plan also includes a just transition to help workers affected by climate change move into new economic growth sectors. Click here to read and listen to the story.