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Moving Toward a Just Transition in the Low-Carbon Economy

Ways that AI Improves HR Functions

Title: Achieving a Just Transition in the Low-Carbon Economy: The Role of Workers

Summary:
Thea Lee, Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor, recently spoke at the COP28 conference in Dubai about the importance of a just transition in the low-carbon economy. Lee emphasized the need to include workers in climate change conversations and adopt just transition principles to gain sustainable political support for climate policies.

A just transition entails creating good green jobs that respect workers’ rights throughout supply chains, involving workers in climate policy discussions, providing equitable access to training for new industries, ensuring social protection during the transition, encouraging green investments, and supporting communities impacted by the transition.

Lee highlighted the United States’ whole-of-government approach, as demonstrated by the recently released Presidential Memorandum on global labor rights and the Department of Labor’s Good Jobs Initiative. She urged other governments to follow suit and collaborate with stakeholders to embed just transition principles into their work.

Additionally, Lee brought attention to the link between climate change and child labor, stressing the need to protect vulnerable children and families from falling into exploitative labor situations due to displacement and lost livelihoods. She announced a new project aimed at addressing child and forced labor challenges arising from climate change in Nepal.

In conclusion, Lee emphasized that workers are essential for achieving ambitious net-zero goals. Skills development and workers’ involvement are crucial for powering the low-carbon economy and taking impactful climate action. A just transition that integrates workers into climate action is essential for a sustainable, inclusive, and prosperous clean energy future.

Source: Moving Toward a Just Transition in the Low-Carbon Economy – Thea Lee, Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor.
Moving Toward a Just Transition in the Low-Carbon Economy

Thea Lee speaking about the just transition during a discussion with the International Trade Union Confederation at COP28. Last week, I had the honor of representing the U.S. Department of Labor at COP28 in Dubai, the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference. This is the first time our department has participated in COP, and I am confident it will not be the last. Climate change impacts workers profoundly, and for that reason they need a voice in shaping, adopting and implementing responsive policies. Departments of labor have a central role to play in that conversation, and I hope more of my counterparts will take part in the coming years.

We are right to set ambitious goals with respect to climate change, but we will only achieve sustainable political support for those policies if workers are included in these conversations from the beginning and we faithfully enact just transition principles to achieve a low-carbon economy.

What does a just transition look like? It creates good green jobs in which workers’ rights are respected and protected throughout supply chains. It ensures that workers are at the table when climate policies are discussed. It provides workers equitable access to training so they have the skills they need to thrive in the new industries, and social protection to ensure they aren’t left behind during the transition. It encourages companies to invest in green industries and low-carbon sectors while also promoting quality jobs in these industries. And it promotes investment in communities impacted by the transition.

Thea Lee speaking about creating pathways to good jobs in the green economy at COP28.

At COP28, I spoke about creating pathways to good jobs in the green economy, emphasizing the United States’ whole-of-government approach, including through the recently released Presidential Memorandum on global labor rights , as well as the Department of Labor’s Good Jobs Initiative , and called on other governments to do the same. The Biden-Harris administration’s robust investments in clean energy and good jobs through the Inflation Reduction Act provide a great example of these principles in action.

In a panel organized by the International Trade Union Confederation, I supported a labor-inclusive Just Transition Work Program, which was under negotiation at the time. The International Labor Organization’s Just Transition Guidelines provide an excellent consensus framework for this work program, since they were developed with the input of governments, workers and employers.

I called for more collaboration among likeminded stakeholders to further embed just transition principles into the work of COP28 and each government.

Stakeholders gathered for vital discussions at the Just Transition Pavilion all week.

I also spoke of the clear link between climate change and child labor. We know that children and families become more vulnerable through displacement and diminished livelihoods due to a changing climate; we must ensure they do not fall into the trap of exploitative labor. That is why I announced we are taking action through a new project to build the capacity of local communities in Nepal to address child labor and forced labor, with a specific focus on confronting new challenges arising from climate change.

Thea Lee speaking about the role of workers in a just transition during a panel discussion at COP28.

Overall, I highlighted that workers are central to our ambitious net-zero goals. Without access to skills, there will not be enough workers to power the low-carbon economy. And we need workers’ buy-in to take decisive and impactful climate action. Workers are thus the key to unlocking the world’s potential for a sustainable, inclusive and prosperous clean energy future. Join me in calling for a just transition that includes workers as integral to climate action success.

Thea Lee is the deputy undersecretary for international affairs. Follow the Bureau of International Labor Affairs on X/Twitter at @ILAB_DOL and on LinkedIn .

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Tue, 12/12/2023 – 12:51

Thea Lee

Tags:

Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB)

climate change

Green Jobs

Just transition
http://blog.dol.gov/2023/12/12/moving-toward-a-just-transition-in-the-low-carbon-economy

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