BRIEF from the Environment and Energy Working Group of the G7 Global Task Force
June 4, 2018
In this document we outline the importance of just transition, building on the work of unions and labour organizations around the world, as a priority for G7 countries to discuss in this year’s Summit.
As seven of the most advanced economies discuss how to face current and future global challenges, it’s incumbent for these nations to work together and share experiences on their role in ensuring full decarbonization of the global economy by 2050, and addressing the implications of decarbonisation for workers, communities, women and Indigenous Peoples. This work should be down with the acknowledgement that decarbonization and climate action are only a small part of the larger disruption happening in workforces around the world thanks to trends such as automation.
2018 will be a crucial year for the global community to demonstrate its determination to limit the increase in global temperature well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Stepping-up efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C requires integrating economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. It also requires the understanding that a sustainable and just future is only possible if all sectors of society engage actively to develop new ways of working that protect the environment for present and future generations, and that promote justice and the creation of decent working opportunities for all, all along the supply chain. The Paris Agreement references just transition in its preamble, along with the importance of creating decent quality jobs aligned with nationally development priorities.
In accordance to SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), SDG 10 (reducing inequalities), SDG 1 (no poverty), and SDG 13 (climate action), the G7 must promote sustainable development, that encourages new technologies, sustainable consumptions, and a just transition for workers, communities, and Indigenous Peoples around the world. Just transition in a world’s growing population, means building a low-carbon future that recognizes three main defining challenges for our century: decent work, poverty eradication and environmental sustainability. We encourage the G7 to also think about the challenges of a just transition such as: the restructuring of different sectors of the economy which could lead to displacement of workers and job losses; the impacts of climate change on assets, infrastructure and livelihoods,; the impact of increasing energy demand and prices specifically on the poor, and; the impacts of climate change on women, and Indigenous communities around the world.
G7 leaders can use this summit to promote the exchange of experiences, build momentum around just transition, and create an ongoing dialogue on this specific topic. These leading economies must agree on the overarching goal of the Paris Agreement decarbonization pathways, and the importance of promoting the creation of an international agenda around just transition that promotes, and realizes fundamental principles such as the right of decent work in a decarbonizing world. A specific focus on Indigenous communities is essential in ensuring just transition policies are aligned with the United Nations Declaration of the Right of Indigenous Peoples.
The G7 must encourage large, medium and small enterprises, investors and consumers to embrace transition towards inclusive economies around all sectors of the economy.
Finally, Canada, as President of the G7, and building on the work of the Task Force on the Just Transition for Canadian Coal-Power Workers and Communities has the opportunity to elevate this discussion, and promote mainstreaming of just transition principles across all G7 priorities and discussions for the upcoming years. Canada shall encourage all G7 members to include principles of just transition as part of their new nationally determined contributions.
The climate and energy working group of the G7 global task force is a broad coalition of over 40 civil society organisations from G7 countries and around the world that has come together to deliver expectations from civil society as the world’s wealthiest industrialized nations meet June 8-9 for the G7 Head of States Summit and G7 Energy, Environment, and Oceans Ministers prepare to meet in the fall. CAN-Rac will convene the working group for the length of Canada’s G7 presidency.