Climate Crisis, Labor Crisis

▲ Min Ryu, Director of Policy Planning Team, Chungcheongnam-do Labor Rights and Rights Center

Heatwaves and extreme cold, floods and droughts, wildfires, fine dust, and infectious diseases have swept the world. According to a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released in November, the average global temperature is expected to rise by 2.4 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. Disasters have become ‘everyday’ in ‘Burning Earth’, and ecology and the lives of citizens around the world are engulfed in painful moans.

Climate change is a ‘universal’ crisis linked to the global ecology and the lives of citizens, but as always, the blades of disasters are directed at the most insecure and poor people first and foremost. Various social disasters promoted by climate change are reinforcing discrimination and inequality in our world according to social relationships that intersect class, race, gender, age, and region.

Failures of International Organizations, Kyoto Mechanism, and COP

Since the 1980s, environmental activists and researchers have predicted and warned about the dangers of climate change. Such efforts have led to institutional responses to climate change at the level of international organizations since the 1990s. The response to climate change centered on negotiations between these international organizations and the government was based on the so-called ‘Kyoto Mechanism’. The interests of countries and companies in the Northern Hemisphere that seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions based on market principles such as joint implementation, clean development system, and carbon trading, etc. has led the international community’s institutional response to climate change for the past 30 years. Their ‘intended’ failure is accelerating today’s global climate crisis. The principle of ‘Common but Differentiated Responsibility (CBDR)’ was ignored, and ‘differential responsibility’ was not imposed on developed countries and companies in the northern hemisphere, but on citizens of poor countries in the southern hemisphere; It has been passed on to children, precarious workers around the world, migrants, women and minorities.

Not climate change, but system change.

Since the early 2000s, the movement of citizens around the world that we can no longer leave the problems of the earth’s ecology and our lives to the ‘competition for profit’ of these ‘brothers fighting each other’ has grown anew since the early 2000s. In 2007, in Bali, ‘Climate Justice Now! (Climate. Justice Now!)’ An international solidarity started. In 2010, the People’s World Conference on Climate Change and Mother Earth’s Rights was held in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and the direction of the ‘Climate Justice’ movement to resist the structural contradictions of capitalism A People’s Agreement was adopted.

The Global Climate Strike in September 2019 attracted millions of people from 150 countries, and on the 6th, 100,000 people gathered in Glasgow, Scotland, where the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) was held. and demanded an immediate and effective response to the climate crisis. The demands of today’s climate justice movement, as specified in the Cochabamba People’s Agreement, are clear. “System Change, Not Climate Change” is needed.

Climate Crisis, Labor, and a Just Transition

Both the climate crisis and the crisis of labor, which have reached extremes today, are fruits that are rooted in the structural contradictions of capitalism, and grow as they feed and share with each other. The climate justice movement and the labor movement are deeply involved in capitalist production relations to protect the dignity of workers and citizens of all working in the climate crisis-promoted threats to the right to work, the retreat of labor (basic) rights, and uncertainty about sustainable work and life. It is necessary to contemplate and connect together the organized and unorganized forces of the workers.

Various discussions and practices about the climate crisis and labor response strategies, and the intersection and connection between the climate justice movement and the labor movement are being dealt with through the so-called ‘just transition’ discourse.

Since the 1970s, the concept of ‘just transition’, which has been proposed in the American organized labor movement as an attempt to overcome the hostile discrimination between workers’ right to work and society’s ecological values, has been widely socialized in the process of responding to institutional climate change at the international level. Diversified understanding and use of Now, ‘just transition’ has become an expression used by almost everyone, from those who argue that corporate ESG management is important in response to the climate crisis to those who argue that a socialist revolution is necessary.

what to do

It is urgent to design and organize a ‘just transformation’ where the climate justice movement and the labor movement meet from a so-called ‘transformational point of view’ that goes beyond the narrow transformation socialized through international organizations and seeks broad transformation and the fundamental structure of the system. and it is important

To this end, the response of labor goes beyond just arguing over the transition period and the right to work, the right to stop work, the right to survive even after stopping work, and the right to live without all citizens being discriminated against on the basis of class and social distinctions such as race, nationality, gender and age. To understand the various demands of various actors for the right to not be free, for humans, animals, and the right to coexist with various ecology, and to organize solidarity and organize a wide social movement towards a new system in which the dignity of workers and citizens is realized. need to focus These practices ensure the specificity and uniqueness of responding to the reality of individual workers and citizens, workplace realities, local community realities, and national realities, while ensuring global practices against capitalism, climate crises, and labor crises organized at the global level. should be connected with It lists the troubles that are difficult to assess alone without hesitation. I hope we can find the answer by sharing and arguing… .

Chungcheongnam-do Labor Rights and Rights Center Policy Planning Team Leader ([email protected])

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *