Australian unions call coal closures inevitable, demand a "just transition"

alberta coal mining photo
CC BY 2.0 JasonWoodhead23

Too often, the fight against climate change is framed as environment versus jobs. Of course the real truth is that this is hogwash. Not only does the economy need a functioning ecology to operate, but the shift to a lower carbon world ought to bring massive opportunities in terms of new business ventures and jobs growth.

Still, there will be sectors and communities that are uniquely vulnerable to a transition away from fossil fuels.

In Australia, we've already seen coal miners throwing their weight behind renewables. Now the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) is also weighing in, arguing that a closure of coal plants is all but inevitable, and demanding the creation of an independent, statutory body that can plan for a "just" transition.

It's an encouraging sign. Given the rapid decline of coal in particular, it does feel like we are reaching a point where we can move from fighting about whether we should switch to renewables, and instead start talking about how we do so in a way that doesn't leave communities behind. All of us have benefited from the power of fossil fuels. All of us should share the economic costs of moving away from their use too.

Australian unions call coal closures inevitable, demand a "just transition"
Organized labor knows that a change is coming. They suggest it might be time to start planning.

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