2015 marked a turning point in global ambitions. World leaders took two major decisions with the Sustainable Development Goals (now called Agenda 30) and the Paris Agreement on climate. Together these chart a course for a zero-poverty, zero-carbon world.
However, the systems change required is massive – an industrial transformation that must be faster and deeper than at any time in our history.
The New Climate Economy’s flagship report Better Growth: Better Climate showed that at the very least carbon neutrality is achievable with the technologies we have right now, but the next 15 years is critical. Together, governments and businesses can drive economic growth and development and achieve as much as 96% of the greenhouse gas emissions reductions needed by 2030 to keep global warming under 2°C, according to the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. However, in a race against time, when many nations have barely left the starting blocks and many others are not even limbering up, the winning post is tragically not in sight.
nd for workers and their families historic levels of unemployment, inequality and precarious work is their reality with one in two working families hit by loss of jobs or reduction of working hours, is it any wonder our people have lost trust in governments?
And with 40% of the global labour force trapped in the desperation of the informal economy without rights, minimum wages or social protection and around 30 million of our brothers and sisters in modern slavery, it is an economic reality that a global wages slump means a global slump in demand.
Rising inequality is now recognized as a global risk, austerity has failed and as the Prime Minister of Sweden, Stefan Lofven, says we need a new global deal.
2016 opened with three reports that depict a broken economic model.
Oxfam exposed the fact that 1% of the world population now own equivalent wealth to the other 99%.
The ITUC exposed the fact that 50 of our largest multinationals have a hidden workforce of 94%, the majority of whom work in intolerable conditions for poverty wages.
And Amnesty International depicted the depravity of the abuse of children in the supply chains of the extractive industry from the Congo.
This is inequality by design. Wealth is being generated off the back of oppression and abuse.
To realize Agenda 30, as the Irish saying goes ‘you wouldn’t start from here’.
For a world where 90% of disasters are climate related and contributing to even greater poverty and inequality the lack of urgency in public discourse, yet alone action, is frightening. The collaboration within and across nations to share technology, the reduction of fossil fuel subsidies, a realistic carbon price and the consequent funding to invest in enabling green infrastructure and just transition measures is minimal. Outside of a few national exceptions; Germany with its national energy plan, France with a legislative frame, USA with EPA regulations now under legal challenge and Senegal unique with National Multi-stakeholder Committee on climate – the national social dialogue is minimal.
For the unions it is simple. There are no jobs on a dead planet. This is much more than a slogan for us. We are already witnessing the loss of lives and livelihoods.
Climate impacts hit working people first and with extreme weather events, changing seasons and rising sea levels, whole communities stand on the frontlines.
Press link for more: World Economic Forum