About the Global Climate Jobs Conference
We are living through a cost of living crisis and worsening housing, energy and climate crises. Billionaires and corporations are getting wealthier while working people cannot get by. Growing social despair risks driving people into the hands of right-wing extremists. Amidst these crises, there are opportunities for advancing progressive politics. We believe Climate Jobs & Ecological Unionism are paths out of this crisis.
The status quo is not providing real solutions to these crises. Left and progressive movements need to fill this vacuum and organize for radically progressive policies that widen its support and build social power.
The conference is taking place in Het Dokhuis (Plantage Doklaan 8, 1018 CM Amsterdam). We will also make use of ‘De Burcht’, an FNV union building.
Climate Jobs and Ecological Unionism: Pathways for Radical Progressive Change
From Green New Deals to Climate Jobs, many blueprints for just transitions and socioeconomic and ecological transformations have been put forward. But we are failing to build powerful social movements around these ideas while their labels are now being used to promote green capitalism.
We must take these transformational policy visions out of our narrow circles and small discussion rooms and turn them into programs with broad support from working people. We need an agenda that can bring together different social movements. And we need the political power to implement it.
Do you want to build power and organise to win? We want to invite you to gather in the Amsterdam (Het Dokhuis) in October 2023 for the Global Climate Jobs Conference.
We will host open and frank discussions about radically just policies, about the future of working class organizing, about alliance building between climate, labour and social movements, and about goals and political strategy and organizing. A conference based on the acknowledgment that without a radical restructuring of our economy we will fail to deliver a just transition and climate justice. A conference to build the social power that can stop climate change.
Social Power to Stop Climate Change
We are aware that multiple answers will arise, and we won’t be seeking to reach a common recipe. To move forward, we will facilitate frank discussions grounded on the different socioeconomic and movement contexts at regional and national levels. We understand different organizations have different needs and goals when investing in social alliances, and that is precisely the dialogue we wish to facilitate. At the same time, we will seek to, by bringing together different unionists, climate activists, movements organizer, campaigners, policy researchers and other interested folks, share learning and experiences among each other.
Anyone who is interested in bringing together the climate and labour movement is invited to join the 2023 Global Climate Jobs Conference. We are going to build the social power that stops climate change!
The Conference Program
At the 2023 Global Climate Jobs Conference, we will bring together everyone who wants to take part in the challenging but pressuring task of building social power to stop climate change. We want to move from policy discussions to action. We seek to set a conference for frank and ambitious discussions on working-class organizing, alliance and movement building and political strategy, towards Climate Jobs and Ecological Unionism.
In this conference, we will build on three pillars of questions:
- Program: What is the progressive agenda and policy proposals to face the multiple social and climate crises? What does a political program compatible with climate science and driven towards social justice looks like?
- Strategy: What do these political proposals mean to our movements and organizations strategically? What is the left plan for power? What do different organizations need from each other to build strong alliances? How will we organize to win?
- Narrative: How will we communicate our agenda? How do we show people what we are fighting for? How can we gain broad support for progressive proposals?
And these will be structured in 3 kinds of sessions: Panel Discussions (interventions by invited speakers), Plenary Sessions (open and facilitated discussions with all of the participants), and Parallel Sessions (workshops session or focus discussion proposed by participants and organizations).
The Panel Discussions will set the key questions and present some key experiences and learning, from which the parallel sessions can build on. The parallel sessions will then further develop some of the content. And plenary sessions will be used to share, amongst all participants, some of the main discussions and conclusions coming out of the parallel sessions.
On the final day (narrative) the workshop session will be focused on real cases for implementation of the learning from the previous days, and to take forward key discussions and proposals. The plenary will then allow participants to share the results of the implementation sessions.
Opening Session – 9am – 10am – with live stream
Panel on Program – 10am – 12pm – with live stream
What is the progressive agenda and policy proposals to face the multiple social and climate crises? What does a political program compatible with climate science and driven towards social justice looks like?
Parallel Sessions on Program – 14pm – 16pm
Workshop 1.1 – Climate Jobs Campaigns
Workers have been rising up across the globe against the cost-of-living crisis, rampant corporate greed, and repression of workers’ rights. However, despite the multi-crises facing the working class, rarely are climate jobs demands put at the centre of industrial disputes. This workshop will look at possibilities for advancing climate jobs demands within labour disputes, as part of building a global collective ecological working-class consciousness.
Workshop 1.2. – A United Front Against Debt: Why debt cancellation is the common denominator to unite workers and climate movements in the Global North & South – Debt for Climate
Debt is an extremely powerful tool of colonialism and an essential driving force of extractivism. It is also a major wealth distributor from the poor to the rich and an instrument of the ruling class to exploit workers globally. Yet most of the climate movements in the Global North are shying away from this topic due to its designed complexity, and thus remain ignorant of one of the major pillars of global inequalities. It’s time to overcome the fear of finance colonialism and organize globally to cancel the debt of Most Affected People and Areas, which is the Global North’s knee on the neck of the Global South. Learn about Debt for Climate, a global grassroots initiative, uniting labour, indigenous rights, feminist and climate movements to make the Global North pay its historic climate debt by cancelling the financial debts of the Global South as way to enable a just and workers-lead transition away from fossil fuels.
Workshop 1.3. – Energy sector and the challenges of decarbonization in Latin America – with live stream
With participation of Lala Peñaranda (TUED), Daniel Gaio (CUT), and of Martín Esparza Flores (SME- Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas)
Parallel Sessions on Program and Strategy – 17pm – 19pm
Workshop 2.1 – Theories of Change – Fermento & Climáximo
In this workshop we will discuss different theories of change that organisations have regarding different issues and analise the strategies and tactics they use to achieve their goals. Then we will talk about conflict escalation, a tool that various “momentum-driven” movements have used in recent years.
A good start for our workshop is this except from a letter from Birmingham Prison, 16 April 1963, by Martin Luther King Jr.:
You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.”
Workshop 2.2 – International Labour movement in the struggle for a Just Transition – policy proposals and strategies – with live stream
The international labour movement and trade union confederations have historically played a significant role in major social and environmental struggles. Climate change is the biggest threat humanity has ever faced, posing enormous dangers to the working class, and social rights that took centuries to earn. Given its commitment to social justice through cooperation with national unions, what is the now the role of the international trade union movement in the struggle for a Just Transition and Climate Justice? This workshop will look at the challenges and internal difficulties that international trade union confederations and labour institutions face when trying to organize around ecological and climate issues. We will also explore the various policy proposals and strategies the international labour movement must adopt to face such an existential struggle.
With the partication of Anabella Rosenberg, Béla Galgoczi (ETUI), Stefania Barca
Movie Exhibition – “Everything must change” – 21pm – 23pm
Cost of living, climate change, food, housing, land: the multiple crises we face are deeply interlinked, which means the solutions are too. “Everything Must Change” explains how all these crises – and the accompanying spiralling price rises – have come about, and shows how a just transition away from a free market extractive system based on exploitation to a renewable energy system based on peoples needs can solve all of them. Drawing on the experience of numerous inspiring social movements, the film argues that as a movement we need to concentrate much more on emissions arising at the point of production, rather than at the level of consumption – which means building a global mass workers and peasants movement to enact that transition ourselves as a matter of priority, because governments and big business aren’t going to do it for us.
Featuring Indian Farmers Movement, Construction rank & file, Grenfell, La Via Campesina, BLF Green Bans, Right to Food, Living Rent, Kenyan Peasants League, striking French and English workers, Save St Fitticks, PELUM Zimbabwe, the Lucas Plan and many more.
Panel on Strategy – 10am – 12pm – with live stream
What do these political proposals mean to our movements and organizations strategically? What is the left plan for power? What do different organizations need from each other to build strong alliances? How will we organize to win?
Parallel Sessions on Strategy and Communication – 14pm – 16pm
Workshop 3.1 – What do we do about the EU elections?
Workshop 3.2 – Next Level Climate Strike: On the alliance of the climate movement and public transport workers in Germany
On the 3rd of March there was a special strike in Germany. In the Global Climate Strike, activists in over 40 cities did not take to the streets alone, but went on strike together with public transport workers. Since autumn 2022, they have been building the #wirfahrenzusammen (we ride together) campaign together. How did this become possible? What are the next steps in building this alliance? What are the possible ways of carrying this forward? What commonalities and areas of tension arise when trade unions and social movements meet? And how do we build ecological class struggles? We want to discuss and develop these and other questions in the workshop.
Featuring Franziska Heinisch
Workshop 3.3 – Workers can Win! – Uniting workers and the climate movement in Britain – with participation of Colletivo di Fabbrica GKN
With rising inflation there has been a large wave of industrial activity in Britain. With the publication of organising guides like Workers can Win!, there is renewed interest in organising workers amongst progressives. In this session we’ll explore the lessons of the book, the state of the British strike wave, and what linking has occurred with the environmental movement.
Workshop 3.4 – “Workers’ Assemblies” by Safe Landing
How can we encourage more deliberative democracy (e.g. “Workers’ Assemblies” – like “Citizens’ Assemblies” for workers) within Trade Unions, in order to design alternative visions of the future for air travel, other high-carbon sectors, and organise towards a just transition?
Wrap-up Plenary – 17pm – 20pm
The Energy Of Emptiness – exhibition and discussion – 21pm – 23pm
We have a constant need for energy. We need it for progress and to run our daily lives. We live in a society in which we have become accustomed to always needing more, a society that is always spinning faster, that wants to grow to unprecedented heights.
What impact does the increasing demand for energy have on the lives of others? Where is that source of our energy and what is happening there? There’s a world not so far from here where this source can be found: a giant hole in the ground generates some of that power that just keeps us going. A world brimming with decisiveness. Where behemoths of machines dig, indescribably large. Where the power of the earth as fuel is transformed into a constant stream that energizes and propels us: this is the Rhineland in Germany.
Xavier van Delft is a 38 year old director and film maker, now making his feature length documentary “The Energy Of Emptiness”.
The Energy Of Emptiness’ portrays the entanglement of needs, interests, hope, despair, construction and destruction. The energy dilemma is intense in this microcosm. Here we see a world of mass consumption that is addicted to (fossil) fuels and cannot do without it. We will feel how energy transition is not possible without a system transition. This film is not a film yet, as it is in post production. What you will see are 3 selected scenes of this film, that will give a preview into what the film will look like. Xavier van Delft would love to get your opinion on this work and is available for Q&A. All feedback is welcome and will be taken in consideration in the edit.
This film is made possible by: VEVAM, XAPF, Dragan Jovicevic, Greifer, NPO Development Fund. It has been part of workshops at film festivals such as IDFA – IDFAcademy, FEST, DocsLisboa, Ji.hlava, Cinematik Slovakia, and some more.”
Panel on Narrative – 9:30am – 11am – with live transmission
Implementation Sessions – 11:30am – 13pm
The workshop session will be focused on real cases for implementation. This will be one of the most important slot of sessions, as this is when we take it from “policy to discussion to action”. This sessions will be responsive to the learning, key discussion points and proposals from the previous days of conference.
Wrap-up Plenary – 15pm – 17pm
Closing Session – 17pm – 18pm
How can I register to attend?
You can register here:
How can my organization support the conference?
The Global Climate Jobs Conference is being co-organized by different people from different organizations in different parts of the world. If your organization wants to endorse or support the conference, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
How can I get involved?
We will have an open meeting on September 4th at 2pm CEST to meet with all those who want to know more, who want to take part in organizing the conference and whose organizations are interested in supporting the conference. Register to get the link to the call here.
Register for solidary accomodation
If you live in Amsterdam or in the Netherlands, you can help us by providing a place for other people to stay at. So if you have a couch, a bed or some space for someone to stay at, you can e-mail us at email@example.com to help.
Help support our organizing efforts by donating to our Open Collective!
Sign up To Help Organize
Anyone who is interested in bringing together the climate and labour movement is invited to join the 2023 Global Climate Jobs Conference. If you want to get involved in organizing, please fill out the following form, leave us your contact details and we will contact you.
Download the mediakit and help spread the word!
Lala Peñaranda is a feminist ecosocialist from Colombia based between Bogotá and NYC.
She is currently the Latin America and Communications coordinator at Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED).
Lala is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), Science for the People, and Colectivo DANTA.
Benjamin Miguel Alvero is currently the Campaign Officer of the Philippine labor center Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO). He is active in campaigns, initiativClaraes, and advocacies that promote worker’s involvement in climate justice —— such as energy democracy and just transition.
Sean Sweeney is the director of the International Program on Labor, Climate & Environment at the School of Labor and Urban Studies, City University of New York. He coordinates Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED) a global network of 102 unions from 32 countries.
Rehema Peter – With over a decade of professional experience dedicated to advocating for child rights and child protection both locally and on the international stage, Rehema Peter, a devoted mother of five, came to a profound realization: the urgent need to secure a safe future for the younger generations. Bolstered by her unwavering passion and a wealth of experience in ensuring the safety of children, Rehema’s journey led her to embrace the cause of climate justice back in 2016. Since then, she has emerged as a dynamic climate activist, championing critical campaigns in the realms of Renewable Energy, Just Transition, Gender Inclusion, and Climate Jobs.
Today, Rehema stands as a seasoned climate advocate and proudly serves as the visionary founder of Partnership for Green Future, a local NGO at the forefront of the fight for climate justice. She brings a wealth of knowledge and a deep commitment to the cause of safeguarding our planet for future generations.
Andile Zulu is the Energy Democracy at the Alternative Information & Development Centre in Cape Town South Africa. His work focuses on the political-economy that underpins the climate crisis. To this end he also engages in advocacy, popular education and research on finding solutions to South Africa’s energy crisis, combatting energy poverty, advancing energy democracy and calling for a Just Energy Transition from Below. He is also a political commentator who has written for publications such as the Mail & Guardian, Daily Maverick, The Continent, Africa Is A Country and Jacobin.
Rika Müller-Vahl co-organises the #wirfahrenzusammen campaign and is involved in building an alliance of the climate justice movement in Berlin with the workers of the Berlin public transport workers. She has been a climate activist for several years and has worked as a trade union organiser in various strike movements.
Daniel Gaio is a sociologist and master in Public Education Policies by the University of Brasília. Bank worker at the Caixa Econômica Federal and union leader of the Confederation of Finance Workers (Contraf-CUT). Since 2015 he is the National Secretary of Climate at the Central Única dos Trabalhadores (CUT-Brasil).
Julie Ferrua is national secretary of the union Solidaires in France, which includes the SUD unions. She is a nurse at the Toulouse Hospital. Within Solidaires, she chairs a number of committees, including those on ecology, immigration, feminism, gender and sexuality. On behalf of Solidaires, she plays an active role in leading the ecological and social alliance.
Stefania Barca is a Distinguished Researcher at the University of Santiago de Compostela, in Spain. She investigates the nexus between labour, ecology and gender, and is the author of Forces of Reprodcution. Notes for a Counterhegemonic Anthropocene (Cambridge University Press, 2020).
She is active in ecosocialist and degrowth feminist networks, including the Care Income campaign, and coordinates the Just Transition and Care Network.
Clara Paillard is a Branch Secretary of Unite the Union in the UK and is a founder of the Unite Grassroots Climate Justice Caucus. She is a member of XR Trade Unionists and has been active in unions and climate justice for the past 15 years.
She Works for Climate Justice Organisations involving Trade Unions into the Climate Justice Movement. With Coal Action Network, she is trying to set up a Climate Jobs Initiative in East Africa to provide an alternative to the Easy Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP)
Carola Rackete, born in 1988, studied nautical sciences in Elsfleth (Germany) and nature conservation in Ormskirk (UK). She visited Antarctica in 8 of the last 10 years while working on polar research vessels for the German polar research institute AWI, the British Antarctic Survey and for Greenpeace. Between 2016 and 2019, she volunteered for sea rescue NGOs in the Central Mediterranean and was arrested as captain of the “Sea-Watch 3” vessel in 2019. While she is working as an ecologist, her current focus is justice in nature conservation and climate movements. She is running as an independent candidate for the European Parliament elections on the list of the Left.
Sam Mason is a policy officer at the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) trade union covering sustainability and climate change. She is one of two trade unions representatives on of the Climate Justice Coalition council and co-coordinator of the CJC trade union caucus, working to build global solidarity and power around Climate Justice and a Just Transformation to the ecological crisis. She is also a member of the New Lucas Plan project advocating for workers plans for socially useful production.
Annabella Rosemburg is a global export on the social justice dimension of environmental and climate policies who works as a senior advisor on Just Transition for the Climate Action Network and the UN Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD). She is from Argentina, born in the Argentinian Patagonia and currently living in Paris, France.
Anabella has worked as International Programme Director (IPD) at Greenpeace International (2018-2023), and before that, at the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), where she worked globally with unions and other allies in many countries, particularly in the global south, on a range of climate change campaigns and issues. Anabella is also the Chair of the Board of WEDO, a global women’s advocacy organization.
Andreas Ytterstad is Professor in Media and Communication and Chair of Concerned Scientists Norway. Ytterstad has held courses in climate journalism for 10 years. His book on climate jobs (Ytterstad 2013) spawned the yearly Bridge to the Future Conference from 2014. He has hosted and produced a TV series (2018) and podcast series (2022), and he has been involved in three large research projects funded by the Research Council of Norway, the latest one called Work, Labour and Greening the Economy (2018-2022)
Leonor Canadas is a Climate Justice activist in Climáximo (a grassroots climate justice collectove based in Lisbon, Portugal), Climate Jobs campaigner and one of the organizer of the Global Climate Jobs Network.
Franziska Heinisch works as an organiser and author at the interface of climate and labour struggles. Among other things, she worked on the largest hospital strike in the German health system. She is currently building the #wirfahrenzusammen campaign, in which climate activists and public transport workers are joining forces.
Bas van Weegberg (1996) is part of the national executive board of FNV, the largest Dutch trade union (federation). He is responsible for the public sector, a just transition and inclusion.
Jonathan Neale is a writer and climate activist. He was international secretary of the Campaign against Climate Change in Britain from 2005 to 2015, and has campaigned and advised on climate jobs in many countries.
Bela Galgoczi has been working as senior research officer at the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI), Brussels since April 2003. His main research fields over the years have been capital and labour mobility in the EU, third country migration and income convergence. His current research focus is a just transition towards a carbon neutral economy with focus on fair labour market transitions in carbon intensive sectors and regions.
He has a degree in electrical engineering (at Budapset Technical University), in sociology (at University of Sciences Budapest) with post-graduate studies in political science (at University of Amsterdam). He also holds a Ph.D. in economics (at Hungarian Academy of Sciences)
Tom Reynolds is an airline pilot and a member of Safe Landing: a group of climate-concerned aviation workers. They campaign for a long-term, sustainable employment by challenging leaders to conform with climate science and reject dangerous growth. They advocate for Worker Assemblies to enable aviation workers to design a sustainable future for air travel and develop worker-led transition plans.
Pete Cannell is a founder member of ScotE3 (Employment, Energy and Environment) and is also active in the Edinburgh Climate Coalition. He’s a member of rs21.
Jan Willem Goudriaan – EPSU
In May 2014, Jan Willem Goudriaan was elected as the new General Secretary of the European Federation of Public Services Trade Unions (EPSU) at the 9th EPSU Congress. He was re-elected at the 10th EPSU Congress Dublin in June 2019. He started in the Dutch public services trade union AbvaKabo-FNV in 1989. In November 1992 he started to work with EPSU. He was EPSU’s Deputy General Secretary from 1997 to 2014.
He pioneered the social dialogue with the employers in the electricity, gas as well as local government sector. Together with the trade union delegations he negotiated European Works Council agreements and transnational company agreements including with Europe’s leading energy and water companies including a groundbreaking deal on improving equality and equal pay in GdfSuez. He actively promoted the social dimension of the Energy Community for South East Europe and has been an active campaigner against the privatisation of water companies in the EU amongst others. He proposed and is vice-President of the first ever successful European Citizens’ Initiative on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation which collected 1.9 million signatures. He is a member of the ETUC Executive Committee as well as the Executive Board of Public Services International, the global trade union federation of public services unions.
Donating is key for us to guarantee funding to support travel costs that ensure the participation of global south participants, grassroots activist, and other activist whose financial situation requires them to have have financial support. We wish for this conference to be build on the basis of solidarity, and do not want participants to restrain from attending the conference due to financial reasons. As so, we hope for everyone’s contribution within your possibilities.
As we are asking for your financial contribution, we find it important to be transparent about what we want to use your contribution for. You can visit our Open Collective page to find out more about why we need funding and how to contribute, as well as to see the budget.
What are climate jobs?
Climate Jobs are new, public-service oriented, dignified and safe jobs, created in the key sectors for the transition and that cut greenhouse gas emissions. These are also job with a guarantee of professional requalification and priority to employment for workers in polluting sectors. The concept of climate jobs as a framework comes from the understanding that we need a just transition to shift away from fossil fuels now, and that we need to create a lot of jobs to stop climate change, while creating good public services.
What does the Global Climate Jobs Network do?
The Global Climate Jobs Network articulates climate jobs campaigns and movements around the world, which are composed by alliances between climate activists and unions through the idea of a just transition. Since the climate crisis is a global crisis, international articulation is fundamental to create the necessary change. There are climate jobs campaigns in Norway, Portugal, Canada, South Africa, UK, France, USA and other countries. Besides articulating campaigns and organizing events such as the 2023 Global Climate Jobs Conference, the Global Climate Jobs Network also produces and shares contents and resources about Climate Jobs, and Just Transition.
What is the 2023 Global Climate Jobs Conference?
It is a conference being held between the 6 th and the 8th of October in Amsterdam (Het Dokhuis) which aims to create alliances between climate, social and labour movements to build the Social Power that stops climate change. It is a conference based on the acknowledgment that without a radical restructuring of our economy we will fail to deliver a just transition and climate justice, where there will be open and frank discussion about radically just policies and about the future of working class organizing, about alliance building between climate, labour and social movements, and about goals and political strategy and organizing.
What is the program of the 2023 Global Climate Jobs Conference?
The program will focus on three main pillars of questions:
1. Program: What is the progressive agenda and policy proposals to face the multiple social and climate crises? What does a political program compatible with climate science and driven towards social justice looks like?
2. Strategy: What do these political proposals mean to our movements and organizations strategically? What is the left plan for power? What do different organizations need from each other to build strong alliances? How will we organize to win?
3. Narrative: How will we communicate our agenda? How do we show people what we are fighting for? How can we gain broad support for progressive proposals?
How can I help build the 2023 Global Climate Jobs Conference?
You can help by volunteering in any of the areas you feel more confortable with, from comunication and media to logistics. When registering for the conference, you can volunteer to support us during the 3 days. We will need a full team of volunteers to make tis conference work in the best way possible. You can register to volunteer in organizing the conference by accessing the form in our website, under the Get Involved tab.
You can also donate to help with the costs of the conference, and to help us support folks with lesser finantial resources attending. We want this to be a global conference, hence we wish to support attendance from Global South participants as well. For that we need the support of all those who can donate. You can also share the conference with the media kit you can download on the website.
Where can I register?
How can I register to offer solidary acommodation?
If you live in Amsterdam or in the Netherlands, you can help us by providing a place for other people to stay at. So if you have a couch, a bed or some space for someone to stay at, you can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to help.
Do I have to attend the 3 days of the conference?
No, you do not have to attend the full conference. However, as we seek to “Move from policy discussion to action”, the presence of participants during the full duration of the conference is key to achive the conference’s goals.
Where should I stay during the conference?
The conference will happen in Het Dokhuis (Plantage Doklaan 8, 1018 CM Amsterdam). It is a former church and squat which now hosts artists and activist collectives. We will also make use of ‘De Burcht’, an FNV union building. You can either arrange your own accomodation, or when registering in the registration page, you can sign up for comrade accomodation, and we will get back to you.
Can I join online?
Yes, some parts of the conference will be streamed online. More information on this will be out soon.