"Global warming has transformed the issue of pollution into the ultimate health and safety issue," said United Steelworkers (USW) President Leo W. Gerard May 7 at the North American Labor Conference on Climate Crisis. He said that regulating both carbon emissions and trade more stringently are essential for addressing the global climate crisis.
Gerard characterized the Labor Movement's vision of addressing global warming as fundamentally at odds with the approach of giving away the right to emit carbon pollution to the world's giant corporations and letting them make immense profits by trading and acquiring those rights without ever addressing the basic inequalities in our global economy.
"We need to use regulation of global warming and trade to lift two billion people out of poverty around the world. To do that," he said, "we'll need to regulate a lot of economic activity -- from power plants to fuel efficiency to energy efficiency --and we'll need to use this regulation as a powerful tool to improve workers' lives, both here in North America and across the globe.
The USW recently led efforts to increase the strength of the environmental movement It is a charter member of the Apollo Alliance, a broad-based labor, community and business coalition committed to the development of sustainable jobs through investments in renewable energy. And it has joined with the Sierra Club to form the Blue Green Alliance, a partnership committed to mobilizing public support for policies that create good jobs, a cleaner environment and a safer world.
Gerard added, "Whether or not we meet the challenge of combating global warming depends, in many ways on those of us in the labor and environmental movements uniting and mobilizing to make sure our elected officials do not continue to speak urgently and act indifferently to this threat.
"If we mobilize the citizens of North America to meet this challenge, we will not only secure our world for our children and grandchildren, we will launch a new generation of good domestic jobs that will revitalize our economies."
USW Environmental Fact sheet (.pdf format)