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Targeting insurance companies to end fossil fuels

The bill was approved by Secretary of State Michael Gove in December 2022 following a public inquiry the previous year.

legal challenge friends of the earth and South Lake Climate Change Action A case due to be heard in the High Court in October has been postponed pending the outcome of another case that could have a significant impact on the potential outcome.

this Related cases This is a challenge to a decision to approve oil drilling at Marshan, Surrey.Represented by activist Sarah Finch wilde action groupthe challenge was heard by the Supreme Court in June and is still awaiting the outcome.


This depends on whether decision-makers need to consider downstream emissions (i.e. emissions from burning oil) before granting planning permission, or only operational emissions.Obviously, this pair all Applications for extracting fossil fuels.

West Cumbria Mining Company claims its production emissions will be “net zero” regardless of whether downstream emissions are included, relying on a ridiculous greenwashing strategy of buying carbon credits as “offsets” – despite the Gold Standard Foundation publicly citing offsets agent keep distance from the project.

A further argument in favor of carbon neutrality is based on the idea that coal will simply “replace” coal mined elsewhere in the world and therefore will not increase net emissions – a claim for which there is zero evidence.

A more reasonable hypothesis is that a new mine would help delay the phase-out of coal in primary steel production globally and replace it with existing near-zero-carbon technologies.

The job boom and the fight for real climate jobs

In addition to the greenwashing of fossil fuel and biomass burning using false claims of carbon neutrality and unproven, dangerous or inefficient “mitigation” technologies such as carbon capture and storage, we are also seeing an onslaught of “money laundering”.

This corporate propaganda – sadly also promoted by some sectors of our unions – seeks to promote resistance to the transformation of fuel policy by falsely linking it to mass unemployment.

New carbon fuel plans make exaggerated or misleading claims about job creation, designed to win community support and influence the calculus of policymakers seeking votes.

The effect of the purge effort strategy is to portray the demands of climate activists as inherently hostile to working-class interests. If left unchallenged, this framework undermines the possibility of organizing at scale to pursue real alternatives – decent jobs that give us real opportunities for a liveable future.

Unchecked climate chaos is the ultimate, deadly assault on working-class lives around the world, but to build serious resistance we must move beyond describing the dire consequences of failing to decarbonize, dismantle false narratives about jobs, and focus on real Workforce type. Successful transformation is needed.


West Cumbria Mining claims the mine will create “up to” 532 permanent direct jobs, as well as provide wider support to the local economy through indirect and induced employment opportunities, such as those generated by increased local spending. interests.

But as Rebekah Diski of the New Economics Foundation says point out Evidence presented to the public inquiry was that there was little confirmation of these figures in WCM’s application.

Although WCM claims that most jobs will be performed by local residents, the vast majority of positions require prior experience and skills that locals rarely possess.

Few local applicants meeting People qualified for these positions may be diverted from other skilled employment opportunities in the area, exacerbating existing skills shortages rather than increasing the total number of local employment opportunities.

Employment rates in West Cumbria are actually slightly above the national average. However, what is evident in the town of Whitehaven is the huge income gap, driven largely by the differences between those who work in Sellafield and those who do not.


There’s also an influx of higher-wage workers from elsewhere taking advantage of the ability to work from home. If this shows anything, it is that the local “induced employment” created by high wages for a small number of people is often of poor quality and is a misleading indicator of wider economic benefits.

As in many places defending existing highly polluting industries or proposing new ones, the key misdirection is the failure to provide any comparative scenarios, or indeed any broader economic context for job creation projections.

This is further reinforced by the assumption that only the market – through strategic subsidies to attract investors – can provide solutions.

Other possibilities for raising incomes and creating jobs – such as building public services and increasing public sector wages – are not factored into these employment forecasts.


The result is a tragically lost opportunity to create skilled jobs that would truly contribute to rapidly reducing carbon emissions while delivering other social or environmental benefits.

A study A study by Opal and Green House Economics on behalf of Cumbria Sustainability Action found that 9,000 “transition” jobs would need to be created to meet Cumbria’s net zero target by 2937 ( i.e. jobs over the next 15 years), half of which will be in West Cumbria (Allerdale and Copeland).

It could create 2,000 permanent jobs in West Cumbria in areas such as renewable energy, retrofit and low energy heating, recycling and public transport.

This is a conservative estimate: many more jobs are needed in all types of land work and in the supply chains of the industries studied. But optimizing green jobs and skills development will require a significant expansion of public ownership.

Climate work and national climate services

this anti-climate change trade union group (CACCTU) has produced a booklet entitled ‘Climate Jobs in Cumbria: Building a Cumbrian workforce for the climate emergency’, which aims to serve the country’s climate in the context of the movement and the local fight for decent work (NCS) presents arguments.

The background is a brochure produced by CACCTU in 2021 entitled Climate Jobs: Building a Workforce for the Climate Emergency – itself an update to an earlier version One million climate jobs.

This shows the need to establish a national climate service and bring the energy system and most of industry, transportation, etc. into public ownership.

NCS will recruit and train new workers and ensure that those who have been eliminated are trained and redeployed to build the large workforce necessary to achieve the structural changes needed to cut energy consumption in an equitable manner.


A high level of sectoral integration is needed to eliminate fossil fuels while building renewable energy sources, strengthen transmission and storage systems, avoid supply chain and skills bottlenecks, recycle materials to minimize environmental damage, and decentralize important industries such as steelmaking and steelmaking. carbon. Drastic cuts in energy demand in buildings and transportation.

National control systems can support this integration, direct public investment and training where needed, and avoid the inefficiencies and incoherence of current government approaches.

For workers, it can deliver fair, unionized jobs, strengthen collective bargaining, guarantee supportive training and redeployment where needed without loss of pay and conditions, and draw on their existing Skills and experience and understanding of worker needs, democratic participation in planning. their local community.

Achieving this means working across sectors, both between and within unions, to proactively develop a coherent transition plan and build popular support for it.


This may seem ambitious, but momentum behind these ideas is building and we can’t waste any more time. First, workers can join or start caucuses or networks within their own unions to engage in movements centered on a worker-led just transition and discuss the need for workers to take every opportunity to organize for climate in their work. branches, workplaces and communities.

Activists and supporters from a range of groups and organizations opposed to the mine are holding speakers’ corners at the proposed mine every few weeks, with climate work and the role of organized workers a key topic.

Local people are welcome and will be given space to express their views and experiences, whatever their views on the mine.Next Speaker’s Corner Will be held on Tuesday, October 24, 2023 at 12 noon.

You can also join the CACCTU mailing list:; and subscribe to the newsletter Green Jobs Alliance. we create tomorrow – “Conference on Empowering Workers to Fight Climate and Crisis” – will be held on Saturday, November 25, 2023.

this author

Ellen Robottom is anti-climate change trade union group.

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