WSLC delegates back clean-energy action

Attend Alliance event Thursday in Seattle to learn about ‘Just Transition’ policy


SEATTLE (July 25, 2017) — Delegates representing unions from across the state approved a resolution at last week’s 2017 Convention of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO affirming the support of the states’ largest union organization for “legislation, administrative rules, or an initiative that enables a just transition for workers and communities directly affected by the transition to a renewable energy economy.” (See the full resolution below.)

The campaign is already under way, led by the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy, to build momentum for a strong, broad and inclusive movement to tackle this challenge. “Taking the Lead on Climate Change” kickoff events have already been held in Bellingham, Spokane, Olympia and Everett to discuss what the Alliance believes is the most effective and equitable carbon reduction policy to date for transitioning to a clean-energy economy in Washington.

TAKE A STAND — All are invited to attend what promises to be the biggest kickoff event yet in Seattle from 6 to 8:30 p.m. this Thursday, July 27 at the Centilia Cultural Center, 1660 S. Roberto Maestas Festival St. RSVP on Facebook.

At the WSLC Convention, a panel that included the WSLC staffer April Sims, Judy Twedt of UAW 4121, and Matthew Hepner of IBEW laid out the immediate threat and challenge of climate change, and urged delegates to join the campaign to make Washington state a national leader in the transition to a clean-energy economy with good-paying jobs. Here is that presentation:


Attend Thursday’s kickoff event and learn more about the campaign, including how you can become a Climate Action Steward. You can be one of the thousands of Washington volunteers committing to tackle climate change while ensuring a “just transition” that secures jobs and livelihoods as we shift to a sustainable clean-energy economy. (You don’t need to attend one of the kickoff events to become a Climate Action Steward. You can volunteer today!)

Following is the Resolution #6 approved by WSLC delegates at last week’s WSLC 2017 Convention:

Towards a Just Transition to Renewable Energy to Combat Climate Change
Resolution #6

WHEREAS, the overwhelming scientific consensus is that climate warming trends over the past century are due to human activities, and most of the world’s leading scientific organizations have issued public statements endorsing this position; and

WHEREAS, we are already experiencing the warming of the planet at a dangerously rapid rate, primarily as a result of our reliance on carbon-based fossil fuels, deforestation and other human activities that have caused a dramatic increase in the global level of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases; and

WHEREAS, according to the Congress of South African Trade Unions, there were already, in 2011, 150 million climate refugees around the world, with more certain to follow because “it is the working class, the poor and developing countries that will be most adversely affected by climate change”; and

WHEREAS, unless we curb the emissions that cause climate change, average temperatures in the United States could be at least 3 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit higher by 2100, with potential consequences including sea-level rise of at least 3 to 6 feet, more powerful hurricanes, more powerful tornadoes, prolonged drought, larger and more frequent wildfires, much more severe winter storms in some areas, reduction to agricultural productivity with resulting food shortages and famine, spread of disease, and plant and animal extinctions that threaten to eliminate up to half of all living species on earth; and

WHEREAS, scientists say that there may still be time to prevent the most catastrophic levels of global warming—if we eliminate the burning of fossil fuels worldwide within the next few years, which is perfectly feasible with existing technology; and

WHEREAS, emergency measures must be taken to prevent catastrophic increases in global warming that will trigger irreversible changes to our biosphere; and

WHEREAS, at the present rate of carbon emission and consequent global warming, we could reach that tipping point by 2050 or sooner; and

WHEREAS, the global movement for climate justice is demanding urgent action by our governments, including an encyclical by Pope Francis that lays out the moral imperative for transforming our economy and social practices; and

WHEREAS, we will solve the climate crisis only when we in the labor movement put our unions at the center of the climate justice movement; and

WHEREAS, there is no good reason why the richest nation in the world cannot fund protection for its workers as we move to minimize reliance on fossil fuels; millions of good jobs can be created by increasing energy efficiency, reliance on renewable energy, and the rebuilding of our infrastructure; and

WHEREAS, there are several bills before Congress to tax carbon pollution, such as the Climate Protection and Justice Act, which would use the funds to provide rebates to households making less than $100,000 per year; and

WHEREAS, the Clean Energy Just Transition Act is an example of legislation that would protect workers whose jobs were lost because of the transition away from fossil fuels; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that this body of the Washington State Labor Council supports a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council will support legislation, administrative rules, or an initiative that enables a just transition for workers and communities directly affected by the transition to a renewable energy economy, providing income, benefit, wage insurance and retraining support for workers in the fossil fuel industries, and creates quality jobs in infrastructure, energy and efficiency, and the clean energy economy.

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