National Union urges premiers to adopt comprehensive climate plan

Ottawa (24 January 2008) ... The 340,000-member National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is urging Canada's provincial and territorial premiers to adopt a comprehensive climate change plan when the Council of the Federation meets next Monday and Tuesday in Vancouver.

New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham is the current chair of the federation.

The premiers routinely deal with front-line climate-related issues such as forest fires, flooding, storm damage and drought. Because of this, NUPGE believes they should seize the opportunity and take action to reduce emissions in the industrial and transportation sectors. While taking care of traditional issues related to emergency preparedness, they should not lose sight of the crucial work to be done on mitigating environmental damage, the union says.

NUPGE National President James Clancy sent a letter to Premier Graham this week urging him and his colleagues to chart a consistent and cooperative path on five different fronts in an effort to reduce the worst impacts related to climate change. They include:

● Implementing energy efficiency standards;
● Developing a green power grid;
● Slowing oil sands development;
● Fixing hard caps on carbon emissions; and
● Creating a just transition for workers into green jobs.

In recent years NUPGE has set a positive example as a national organization in promoting progressive change in response to the climate crisis.

In 2006 the union released a popular primer on climate change, highlighting the seriousness of the issue and urging its members to get involved in tackling the problem. Keeping Our Cool:  A Climate Change Primer - pdf

Delegates at NUPGEs 2007 convention adopted a series of policy fact sheets on climate change issues. In its recent publication, Go Green Now: Top 5 Ways to Get Government to Confront the Climate Crisis, the union has also outlined a comprehensive strategy for Canada's governments to address key climate change issues.