Moving the Jobs Message in Copenhagen
By Bob Baugh
December 10, 2009 - 11:52am ET
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With the Kronenborg Slot (Hamlet’s castle) just a few kilometers from Copenhagen a blogger always wants to lead with, “something is rotten in the State of Denmark.” But, the opposite is true; something promising is growing in Denmark. However, it takes a daily process to sort through the wheat from the chaff, the rumor from the fact.
Our days begin and end with an International Trade Union Confederation [ITUC] debriefing and planning session. Information is shared, rumors affirmed or debunked, insights shared about different governments’ actions, what other stakeholders in the UN process are up to and what we must do next as ITUC delegates to support our just transition language. Consider the past 48 hours.
On Tuesday, a “secret draft treaty text” from the Danish Prime Minister was leaked that got everyone stirred up. No one knew who leaked it. It generated a lot of press with people angry and confused because so many things, like just transition, were missing. Landsorganisationen i Danmark [LO], the Danish trade union, immediately demanded a meeting with the government and got one. What we learned is the text was very old and the government affirmed their support for just transition language.
On Wednesday a group on developing nations offered a proposal that caused a great deal of controversy and showed some of the internal divisions in the G77 (developing) nations. ITUC delegates from the developing world help clarify the situation. It is over the access to adaptation funds. Countries like Saudi Arabia want to place a claim on these resources for potential oil revenue loss due. This would come at the expense of the poorest and least developed nations. Since Bali, the AFL-CIO has consistently told U.S. negotiators that adaptation funds should be used to help the nations most in need.
That same day at the same meeting Norway announcing support of just transition language and France proposed a financial transaction tax to help pay for international adaptation. This is similar to the idea the AFL-CIO has been proposing to raise revenues in the U.S. for job creation.
While all this was going on our labor delegation met privately with the EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson, just before her featured presentation at the U.S. Center. It was an open productive discussion of the just transition concepts and how they related directly to our efforts in Congress. She got it, telling us that she appreciated our frank approach in addressing climate change and in linking it to opportunities – jobs.
Ms. Jackson said she is a “practical and pragmatic woman” in her approach and wants to see EPA’s work lead to industry development. To that end, she said, “certainty on the regulatory framework will lead to the road to investment.” We told her we want to see the same industry development. We urged her to spread the just transition message in the statement we gave to her team.
And, that message appears to be working … or is this just a rumor? Keep watching.
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