Wrap-up 2023 Global Climate Jobs Conference – Amsterdam 6-8th October

We did it! The 2023 Global Climate Jobs Conference has come to an end.

More than 100 climate justice activists, trade union members and representatives, labour organizers, researchers and academics, from around 15 countries and 4 continents, came together in Amsterdam for 3 days of conference. During the conference we hosted 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 a common road between labour and climate justice movements on the building of social power to stop climate change.

This was a conference organized and built by volunteers, in the spirit of comradeship, solidarity and militancy that we seek to replicate in our organizations and movement.

This was a conference organized and built by volunteers, in the spirit of comradeship, solidarity and militancy that we seek to replicate in our organizations and movement.

In this wrap-up post you can find information about the program, speakers, recordings, venue, interpretation, the movies that were exhibited and more. Soon the organizing team will make the report of the 3 days of conference available.

We focused our discussions on 3 main 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?

You can find the recordings of all the panels and a selection of workshop sessions here: https://www.youtube.com/@ReelNews/streams

Reel News team made an amazing work in making the live stream and recording happening. If you can please support their work and help them cover some of the expenses, by donating here (scroll down to bottom for donate button):

Here you can find the list of panels, workshop sessions and other activities that took place in the conference:

Soon the full report with the main points of discussion and key takeaways and interventions from all of the panels and sessions will be available.

Following there is a presentation of the panels and opening sessions with a description of the speakers of each.

Subscribe the mailing list in the Global Climate Jobs Network main page to stay updated on meetings and get information on how to get involved, as well as and on the release of the final report.

Opening session

Bas van Weegberg 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.

Pieter Sellies is a climate justice activist and labour union organiser. He has experience organising large mobilisations: e.g. the largest climate march in The Netherlands during COP26 and the mass action at Schiphol’s private jet terminal in 2022. Besides organising actions, Pieter has also taken initiative to help start several organisations and campaigns, incl. End Fossil Occupy NL and the FNV Climate Network. He works at Fossil Free NL coordinating the campaign to end ING Bank’s financing of fossil fuels and ran twice for local elections as a member of the Party for the Animals.

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.

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.

Panel 1 on Program

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.

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.

José Humberto Montes de Oca Luna is the Secretary of International Relations of the Mexican Electrical Workers Union (SME) and the National Coordinator of the Executive Structure of the New Central de Trabajadores de Mexico. He studied Visual Arts at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Charlotte Braat is a Climate justice activist at XR and active member climate netwerk FN.

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.

Panel 2 on Strategy

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.

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.

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.

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.

Daniel Chavez is a Former TNI fellow, Daniel earned his PhD in Development Studies from the Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam in 2001, subsequently joining TNI as a staff member. Daniel cut his activist teeth at the United Federation of Mutual Aid Housing Cooperatives (FUCVAM) in Uruguay where he worked for almost a decade prior to coming to the Netherlands to study. He is a scholar-activist with a strong commitment to progressive Latin America, and a keen interest in participatory democracy.

Niels Jongerius joined the ‘Economic Justice, Corporate Power and Alternatives’ programme in February 2016. He has a BA degree in International Relations from the University of Groningen. He worked in the European Parliament from 2009-2014. In 2015 he worked for the German Trade Union Federation in Berlin. He also studied and worked in Shanghai.

Panel 3 on Narrative

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).


“Everything must change”

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.

“The Energy of Emptiness”

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.”

Venues for the conference

We had the pleasure to be hosted by 3 different venues.

1. ‘Het Dokhuis’ – This was our home base. This building is a former church and squat which currently hosts artists and activist collectives.

2. ‘De Burcht’ – an FNV union building that feels (from the inside) like a cathedral for the working class

3. Sant’Egidio Church

COATI – Colectivo para la autogestión de tecnologías para la interpretación

The team from COATI was key to making this conference happen in an inclusive way.

Check their website here: https://coati.pimienta.org/

Supporting organizations

This conference was organized by volunteers, with the support of their organizations and other endorsing organizations, which helped in different ways. Here are some of the organizations which supported and endorsed the conference: