There are no jobs on a dead planet trade unions for climate justice

The large-scale, long-term shift in the planet’s weather patterns is a threat to the livelihoods of the world’s population.

Vulnerable people are most at risk because of their poor capacity to adapt to the changing change. Reducing the release of greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane – into the atmosphere will help mitigate the effects of global warming.

“If we allow climate change to continue growing and growing and causing havoc, sooner than later it will reach a catastrophic stage which becomes impossible to manage; at that point the planet will be dead and there will be no jobs on a dead planet,” observed Kingsley Ofei-Nkansah, General Secretary of the General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) of the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

Globally, businesses and investors are taking bold climate action to foster a low-carbon economy and are expected to call on governments to create an ambitious, actionable climate agreement in Paris.

The UN Climate Change Summit this December will attract more than 1,000 of the world’s leading companies who have vested interest in the outcomes of the negotiations.

Whilst business leaders take action, trade unions cannot sit aloof in the face of climate change, hence the need to mobilize workers across the globe to have interest in the quest for climate justice, said Mr. Ofei-Nkansah.

“Working people, trade unions are particular about jobs; without jobs there are no trade unions. So in saying that there are no jobs on a dead planet, we’ll like to draw attention to those who are cynical and skeptical about trade union involvement to the fact that trade unions are part of the citizens of the global community and that trade unions exist only when there are jobs,” he said.

Ghana, like many Africa countries, have majority of the workforce in the agricultural sector. Farmers have been at the mercy of the weather in the recent times.

The negative impacts of the changing climate on agricultural production threaten livelihoods and food security.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), access to information remains the single most important factor for Ghanaian agriculturists to cope with the unexpected changes in the weather.

Mr. Kyekyeku Oppong-Boadi, a Deputy Director at the EPA, says agricultural extension officers will need the right information at the right time in order to help meet the needs of the farmers.

“Our focus is on how the farmers will be able to adapt to the changing climate; the types of crops that they have to plant at what time and also how they can prepare themselves in case there is a short in rainfall,” he said.

Sustainable land and water management, according to GAWU, remains critical to agricultural production and food security.

The Union also expects State actors to prioritize intensification of food production to cope with the challenge of water scarcity as a result of climate change.

“We must have the resources to develop the kind of varieties which can fruit even in an environment that has high temperatures, provided we’ve taken care of the supply of water that is needed for the plant to grow,” he said. “It is important to organize the people who are doing the farming so that they take control of the new systems, otherwise the big corporations will give them a raw deal”.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh

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