A Defining Moment in the Fight Against Climate Change

This week, NRDC is excited to join its 13 partner organizations of the BlueGreen Alliance in releasing a historic platform, Solidarity for Climate Action, which lays out a new path to meet the rising climate crisis in a way that will lead to better jobs and better lives for hard working families across the country. 

This ambitious platform is a blueprint for decision makers across the country—laying out a vision, principles and pathways to craft policies to best address the dual challenges of climate change and economic inequality. It calls for immediate and substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions paired with massive investments to create high quality jobs in the clean energy sector and beyond, while vigorously appealing for equity for all communities and workers.

Solidarity for Climate Action marks a significant milestone in the relationship between the labor and environmental movements regarding climate action. We’ve had our disagreements, to be sure, but there is more agreement then most might realize, particularly around the need for climate action and income equality, which is one of the reasons this platform was created. It is an expression of hope that our movements will begin a renewed cooperation from a foundation of broad agreement. From there we will work to understand each other’s perspective, bridge our differences and work together to create lasting solutions that protect future generations from climate catastrophe. 

There is good reason to believe that a platform like this can truly bring about the change we need. The last time environmental organizations and unions agreed on a path to addressing climate change was over ten years ago, and that  passed the U.S. House and was just shy of passing in the Senate to become law.  This new Solidarity for Climate Action platform takes the lessons learned from the ultimate failure of the last effort and goes well beyond what could be agreed to in 2009. We’ve learned so much more about what works, what doesn’t and about the growing threats from climate change we now see right outside our windows.

For example, this platform is fully aligned with the most recent assessment by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 1.5 report and builds on the AFL-CIO climate resolution’s call for a comprehensive climate action in the US by specifying that the solution must be in-line with what the latest science tells us—that we must get to net-zero emissions by 2050 to avoid severe climate impacts and damages.

The platform applies the lessons from the last 10+ years of labor trends to build a stronger clean energy economy with increasing job quality and equitable treatment of workers who would be harmed by their industries’ decline.

The platform also better appreciates how all communities need to benefit from climate solutions and access to better jobs. Frontline, minority and other underserved communities deserve justice for decades of cumulative harms and these environmental and economic justice concerns must be  at the forefront of investments and solutions.

Solidarity for Climate Action demonstrates the growing momentum for solutions to the climate change challenge.  It unites two of the most influential movements in America in a common vision, a common set of principles and a common set of policy pathways to address two of the most pressing challenges our country, and the word, face. It is not the first platform on climate change and won’t be the last, but with enthusiasm, dedication, and tenacity to fulfill its mission by its endorsers it could prove to be one of the defining moments in the fight against climate change. 

About the Authors

Susan Casey-Lefkowitz

Chief Program Officer

Marc Boom

Director of Federal Affairs, Government Affairs

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