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8 Unions Have a Plan for Climate Action—But It Doesn’t Mention Fighting the Fossil Fuel Industry

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/08/27/8-unions-have-plan-climate-action-it-doesnt-mention-fighting-fossil-fuel-industry

The way to end fossil fuel usage is to end the demand for them. The industry is simply fulfilling that demand.

Sadly, these union folks are going to go down in history as just another roadblock to progress.

And mother nature will have the last word on their high-paying jobs.

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That would certainly help. Though it’s a really unpopular proposition these days.

No sissy electric cars for tough union guys. Climate busting, black smoke belching, gas guzzling pick up trucks are more manly choices, even if it kills them.

“Economic security” is meaningless on an unlivable planet, and a guarantee of it is meaningless without deep dish details on just how it will be achieved.

Everybody needs to get fucking serious

Now.

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Fast transition toward renewables/away from fossil fuels, while ensuring jobs for fossil fuels industry workers - an idea in both the GND and BlueGreen Alliance.

The GND has been mainly attacked for its government ‘new deal spending’ idea; but, in fact - the BlueGreen Alliance demonstrates - it is the ‘jobs justice’ demands of the GND, its demands on behalf of jobs for US workers, that make it politically strong.

The hopeful scenario is that, as renewables increase and provide more good jobs, fossil fuel unions/workers will increasingly support shutting down fossil fuels fast.

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“And mother nature will have the last word on their high-paying jobs.”

“High paying jobs,” the article says. Hm. I am admittedly ignorant…

…have searched around some, but haven’t found just how high-paying those fossil fuels jobs are versus emerging renewable energy jobs…especially when costs of substandard US healthcare to offset lung damage - not to mention long-term quality of life regardless of healthcare - are factored in…

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You can’t say GND and expect anyone to know exactly what you mean any more than you can say GOD and expect clarity. GND’s seem to be multiplying. I try to keep up, but I’m also busy right now watching the last days of the Arctic icecap, not to mention the Amazon…

Oh yeah, that GND. I see at least two categories of GND: those which skim over the subject of fossil fuels, and those which mention stopping extraction somewhere (perhaps at least on public lands?). Only the second kind of GND makes any sense. It is heartlessly reckless to bet the future on a delusion that indirect means, such as development of energy alternatives, could ever be sufficient to stop extraction. Not when this delusion has been utterly fruitless for decades, as carbon emissions exponentially climb and we sit on our hands, viewing it as inevitable that all the fossil carbon must be exhumed. Mama must be violated. Nothing we can do. Watch her burning.

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There are larger factors at work in the fossil fuel industry:

We cannot have 100 per cent renewable energy because vehicles and machines with moving parts require petroleum based lubricants. Vegetable oils will not have high enough boiling temperatures.

Unions have done a good job securing good pay, benefits and working conditions for their members and I am grateful for what they have done for me in this regard. Securing the continuation of jobs that are no longer necessary and better off not done is just not their proper role.

Making sure that their members are treated fairly and not forced to carry the weight of change for everybody else is what they should be doing in industries like coal.

Actually, when it comes to globalization, a union does a have a role to play in securing the continuation of jobs:

https://uaw.org/gminvestinus/

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“Securing the continuation of jobs that are no longer necessary and better off not done is just not their proper role.”

“Not their proper role”? Says who? Advance thanks for providing evidence or an authority for that claim.

If a union is democratic, its “role” is to advance the demands of its membership.

“We cannot have 100 per cent renewable energy because vehicles and machines with moving parts require petroleum based lubricants.”

Shrug, I’m good w/95%…

Exporting jobs is a separate issue.

What would constitute evidence for a statement like that? It’s an opinion.

How can economy make technological change if the old ways are always continued to preserve the jobs doing them? It can’t work.

We should have a generous and strong safety net so that people can transition from the old to the new with dignity and without having to fear loss of the necessities of life for their families.

But no more mining coal to be burnt in power plants.

Not so much, it isn’t. And the union that you belong to is in the crosshairs of management and they’ll use automation to pressure you into submission:

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/american-workers-jobs-inequality-union-automation_n_5ae043f9e4b061c0bfa32e0c

“How can economy make technological change if the old ways are always continued to preserve the jobs doing them? It can’t work.”

That’s an entirely different question - that I’m glad to discuss in the framework of government supported transitioning of the economy to deal with climate change - than the matter of whether preserving jobs exceeds the “proper role” of unions.

OK. I knew “proper role” wasn’t the best phrase when I wrote it but I couldn’t think of a better one at the time. But “government supported transitioning of the economy” sounds like a process that could end a few jobs. This is OK if the support enables workers to do the transition without fear.

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