'Crisis of capitalism'

Unite delegates debate green industrial revolution and importance of a balanced energy policy

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Debate on the green industrial revolution continued on the first day of Unite’s Policy Conference on Monday (October 18), as a composite was put forward on the climate emergency which highlighted the urgency of the situation.

The composite, moved by Unite delegate Richard Milner of the East Midlands, hailed the efforts of school students striking over the climate emergency and noted that the school students’ movement is a “profoundly democratic and collective initiative”, which shows how young people are the “trade unionists of the future”.

The composite noted how the Earth’s temperature has already risen by one degree above pre-industrial levels, and moreover highlighted the devastating conclusion of reports from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Above all, the composite noted that climate change is a trade union issue and that Unite has a responsibility to engage with employers about the issue of climate change and their duty to act responsibly.

Unite Executive Council member Jane Stewart (pictured below) intervened in the debate, as she commended young people for their climate change activism and said that they rightly identified the climate emergency as a ‘crisis of capitalism’.

While urging support for the composite, Jane highlighted that Unite should not affiliate nationally to the Campaign Against Climate Change because of concerns of Unite members in the nuclear and aviation sectors.

The composite was carried.

Afterwards, Unite delegates confirmed their commitment to a balanced energy policy in a motion moved by Unite delegate Paul Rounding (pictured lead), who highlighted the importance of an energy policy that puts low carbon energy at its heart.

Such a policy was vital in light of the government’s commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. A truly balanced energy policy must include wind, solar, battery storage, hydro, carbon capture and storage, gas, clean coal and nuclear, Paul added.

Paul went on to highlight the importance of a just transition, saying that we must ensure opportunity for good jobs for all.

Unite delegate Russell Cartwright (pictured below) of the London and Eastern region spoke out against the motion, objecting to the wholesale support of nuclear power and highlighting its dangers.

In response, Unite delegate Paul Rounding emphasised how vital nuclear was in a balanced low-carbon energy policy, adding, “If we didn’t have nuclear, we’d be sat in darkness now.”

The motion was carried.

By Hajera Blagg

Pics by Mark Thomas

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