LO submits climate policy programme

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Tackle the climate crisis with investments and technological development
In the middle of August, SAMAK, the cooperation committee between trade union movements and Social Democratic Parties in the Nordic countries, arranged a seminar on climate in Oslo. At this meeting, LO submitted its climate policy programme.

The threat of future climate changes also implies threats against health, employment and welfare. The trade union movement, as well as other actors in society, must shoulder their responsibility to reduce these threats. Climate problems concern, to a great extent, shortages in our production lines and it is production itself, all from industry to transport and society services, which is the trade union movement’s foundation. The LO climate policy programme has been compiled by a multiunion working group and is the basis for the LO future work on the climate issue.

Many of the measures and changes needed, will affect the daily life of our members. The trade union movement’s involvement is necessary in order to relieve the effects on the climate as well as the measures necessary to alleviate the consequences of these effects, LO President, Wanja Lundby-Wedin, states.

The trade union movement in Sweden as well as globally has a special mission to maintain a social dimension in climate work. Emission restrictions and adaptation measures must be in line with demands for fair distribution and initiatives for new sustainable jobs within sectors where relocations will be inevitable. But at the same time, it is necessary to develop the jobs available today in a sustainable direction taking into consideration the aspect of both human beings and the environment. In the run-up to the large-scale UN Environment Conference in Copenhagen in December, the international trade union movement is working for the integration of a social dimension into climate policy. LO expects that Sweden will shore up this work.

A green investment policy may partly contribute to the recovery of the economy, although most of the measures will have long-term effects. But the main thing is that these measures make us stronger to face the future. Climate investments which are socially justified are not to be regarded as expenses primarily – if correctly planned, they are investments in more sustainable infrastructure and production.

LO proposes that a long-term green investment policy be worked out within several sectors:

A coordinated programme with state subsidies is needed for renovations, energy economizing, and social refurbishing of housing areas built in the 60s and 70s.
The current programme for more effective energy consumption within industry should also include industrial life in general, at the same time as corresponding measures are implemented within public activities.
A long-term research and development programme for introduction of vehicles driven by electricity should be worked out in close cooperation with the State, research institutes, automotive industry and energy industry.
Extensive re-investments in the railway system ought to be guaranteed within the extended planning framework for infrastructure 2010 – 2021, including in the existing as well as in a new generation of public transport, as regards, for example, vehicles, terminals and technological systems.
Emissions from goods traffic may be reduced by way of better automotive technology and increased investments in intermodal traffic (coordination between different kinds of vehicular traffic systems) based on a coordinated system of transport routes and modern terminals for reloading.
A plan of action is needed to link the development of agriculture and food production with reduced influence on climate. At the same time, the competition-neutral use of biomass from forests and agricultural sectors should be secured between the interests of industry and energy sectors to avoid industrial raw material to be burnt up.