Labor, Environmental Leaders Urge Global Agreement that Creates Good, Green Jobs

As world leaders negotiate a global agreement in Cancun, labor and environmental leaders gathered today at the World of Work Pavilion to urge an agreement that both addresses climate change and ensures a just transition to a clean energy economy.

December 7, 2010

In Cancun, BlueGreen Alliance Discusses Labor-Environmental Partnership at International Trade Union Confederation’s World of Work Pavilion

CANCUN, MEXICO (December 7, 2010) As world leaders continue to negotiate a global agreement to address climate change in Cancun, labor and environmental leaders gathered today at the World of Work Pavilion to urge an agreement that both addresses climate change and ensures a just transition to a clean energy economy that creates good, green jobs in the U.S. and around the world.

Read our release on A Global Agreement to Address Climate Change and Create Good Jobs.

“We have a deep economic crisis and a deep environmental crisis – and as people who care about both – we must build an economy that creates good, green jobs in the United States and around the world,” said Gerry Hudson, International Executive Vice President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). “We are here in Cancun to urge the international community to reach an agreement that will preserve and create good jobs now.”

“An international agreement has the potential to create jobs in the United States,” said Jake Schmidt, International Climate Policy Director for the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “As we move forward in this process, we have to make sure that countries are following through with their commitments to combat climate change.”

The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of nine major U.S. labor unions and four of America’s most influential environmental organizations. Labor and environmental leaders in Cancun also discussed this unique alliance that brings together 13 million people in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a green economy.

“Weatherizing America’s homes has the potential to significantly reduce emissions and create good jobs, but we must have a nationwide commitment to both goals,” said Ted Green, Special Assistant to the President of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA). “We must address climate change in a way that creates good, high-road jobs in the United States.”

“We have the tools at our disposal now to reduce emissions and create good jobs and we can work together to make that happen, which is why we joined this unique partnership,” said Joe Mendelson, Director of Global Warming at the National Wildlife Federation. “For example, we can produce more fuel-efficient cars and we can develop offshore wind capacity – and we can do these things in a way that creates jobs and protects wildlife.”

“We have a huge economic crisis in the United States, and one of the ways that we get out of this crisis is when we create jobs for workers converting to a cleaner planet,” said Stewart Acuff, Chief of Staff for the Utility Workers Union of America. “The question is who is on the side of workers and who is on the side of the planet? This partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations brings those two movements together to create good jobs and protect the environment.”

Andrea Delgado, Senior Policy Analyst for the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), joined BlueGreen Alliance partners to discuss the importance of creating good jobs and a clean environment to the Latino community. “The impacts of climate change disproportionately impact the Latino community, and we need action to improve the public health of our community and to capitalize on the good jobs that can be created by addressing climate change.”

Yvette Pena Lopes, Director of Legislation and Intergovernmental Affairs at the BlueGreen Alliance concluded, “The BlueGreen Alliance is here in Cancun to show the international community that a just transition to good jobs in a clean energy economy is key to a global climate agreement. We need good jobs in the United States, and we need to ensure a just environmental and economic transition to clean energy, and we can do that with action here in Cancun and at home in the United States.”