Just Transition - Investments for decent jobs in a low-carbon society

Currently, the European parliament and the Council negotiate the so-called "winter package" which will change existing legislation in the field of energy efficiency, renewable energy support schemes, the electricity market design and the energy performance of buildings. Unfortunately, the political negotiations on the "winter package" show that it will be difficult to achieve binding targets for the deployment of renewable energy, for ambitious energy efficiency measures, for a phase-out of fossil fuels and nuclear power.

Besides, the expectations for COP23 are progress on pre-2020 commitments and progress on the work programme to implement the Paris Agreement. But the current commitments under the Paris Agreement are not sufficient to limit global warming well below 2 degrees - the UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2015 showed that a mitigation gap of 14 GtCO2 exists for 2030. The member states need to ratch up their national commitments and change their long-term national climate and energy policy plans to ensure a much faster growth of renewable energy deployment, fostering energy efficiency measures, a just transition in the sectors of energy generation, transport and agriculture, and the phase-out of fossil fuels and nuclear power.

What is more: the European Union not only faces a climate crisis, but a deep social crisis, caused by economic slump, shrinking domestic demand, shrinking public demand, neglect of public investment, the focus on austerity and, as a consequence, high rates of unemployment in a lot of member states. Europe is now recovering with slow growth and unemployment is gradually falling. But recession followed by tentative recovery is no cause for celebration. We need to respond with concrete solutions to ensure economic cohesion and sustainable, economic development in the European Union. We need investment for sustainable growth and quality job creation, quality public services, just transition towards a low-carbon economy, and the creation of decent work. In the preamble of the Paris agreement there is a clear reference to just transition: countries have committed to base their de-carbonisation strategies on concepts of just transition and on decent work.

We need a progressive industrial and investment policy geared towards a strong growth of renewable energy generation, ambitious energy savings and energy efficiency measures, sector coupling, just transition in the sectors of energy, transport and agriculture, and grid enhancement.

Politicians from coal regions such as Spain, Poland and Germany, trade unionists, climate activists and the European commission discuss the following questions:

  • How to strengthen the political discourse demanding investment for sustainable growth, just transition and social-ecological transformation? How can decent jobs support this goal? How can decent climate jobs be created in the manufacturing and service sector? (Climate Jobs Campaigns)
  • How to finance such a progressive investment programme targeted at a just transition? How to support the phase- out of coal? How to win the support of trade unions and workers in coal regions?
  • How to assess the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement? What needs to be done in terms of climate and energy policy, at global, European, national, regional and local level?
  • Which are best practices at local and regional level? How to involve local and regional stakeholders?

With: Cornelia Ernst, MEP, GUE/NGL, Die Linke; Martin Schirdewan, MEP, GUE/NGL, Die Linke, former head of office at the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Brussels Office; Maxime Benatouil, transform!, Co-Director; Julien Rivoire, Fédération Syndicale Unitaire, FSU, Trade Union, France ; Sam Mason, Public and Commercial Services Union, PCS, Trade Union, UK; Benjamin Denis, European Trade Union Confederation, ETUC, Brussels; Aleksandra Tomczak, European Commission, DG Energy, policy coordinator for EU coal; Sofia Ciércoles, Mayor of Andorra, Teruel, Aragon, Spain; Yasmina Sánchez Oussedik, Fundació l’Alternativa, Catalonia; Olivier Soria, Lacanau municipal counsellor, Parti de Gauche, Frankreich; Steffen Kühne, Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, Berlin; Frederik Moch, German Trade Union Confederation, DGB, Head of Department on Industrial- and Structural Policy; Molly Walsh, Friends of the Earth Europe, and others.

Date: Monday, 4 December 2017, 10 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.
Venue: Maison des Associations Internationales, 40 Rue Washington, 1050 Brussels
Languages: German, English, French, Spanish, Polish
Organization: GUE/NGL, Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Brussels Office, in cooperation with Transform!

Please register at: manuela.kropp(at)ep.europa(dot)eu
Contact: marlis.gensler(at)rosalux(dot)org