UCN's Kevin Knobloch (second from left) speaking as part of Climate Week NYC, photo: Matthew McDermott
Among the public events during Climate Week NY°C was a rally last night at the New York Society for Ethical Culture for "Jobs, Justice, Climate" -- which as you might gather from the title was about the intersection of the labor movement, green jobs, social justice and climate change. A number of labor notables were in attendance -- Roger Touissant from the Transport Workers Union, former president of Ireland Mary Robinson, ILO director-general Juan Somavía -- but perhaps the most concise statement about how weak emission reductions targets and unambitious action on climate change really mean a stifling of job growth came from the Union of Concerned Scientists' Kevin Knobloch: After stating, with regret that it had to be emphasized again, that climate change is indeed happening and that we have to act swiftly to prevent it, Knobloch made the case for strong climate action ensuring job growth:
Weak Targets Means Green Jobs Left Behind
The US holds a special responsibility...we are responsible for 25% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere today. They stay in the atmosphere for 100 years or more, on average. We own that. We in the United States need to step up.
The business plan that we have been pursuing over the past 30 years has been argued, and I will argue, has failed. We need to shift gears. We need to shift in an aggressive way to this new energy economy.
We have to do this boldly...the most clear that the targets for greenhouse gas reductions can be -- to put us on a footing to rapidly and deeply reduce greenhouse gas emissions from every sector, from every source -- the stronger those targets are, domestically here and internationally, the stronger the signal will be to the market to create jobs and expanding wealth [sic] internationally. The weaker the targets, the more jobs we will leave on the table.