Responding to climate change

1. Acknowledging the fact that global warming is already
occurring with the 10 hottest years on record having happened since
1990, and the massive danger presented by further climate change to
human civilisation;

2. Noting the scientific consensus that global warming is caused by
human activities which pump carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas
emissions into the atmosphere;

3. Acknowledging that responsibility for global greenhouse gas
emissions has to be understood in the context of historical and
existing inequalities in wealth and access to services between
industrialised and developing countries, resulting in substantial
differentials in per capita emissions;

4. Acknowledging that while responsibility for emissions lies
with rich and powerful nations, it is the poorest countries which
are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change through
impacts on agriculture, food security, water supplies, weather,
health, ecosystems and infrastructure, including transport;

5. Realising that extraordinary weather conditions (droughts,
flooding, etc) due to climate change have already destroyed jobs,
homes and peoples’ lives, particularly in developing
countries, and if little is done, millions of jobs and
peoples’ livelihood will be further at risk;

6. Believes therefore that ambitious mitigation action is
fundamental if we want to leave our children a sustainable world
and a chance for social and development goals to be achieved, and
that these actions must be fairly shared and distributed between
and within countries;

7. Noting that transport is responsible for 14% of global
emissions, with the transport sector accounting for over a quarter
of total world energy use, and that private motoring represents
more then half of these;

8. Is concerned that transport emissions have increased
dramatically over the past 30 years, and are increasing in all
regions of the world at a faster rate than any other energy-using
sector of the economy; in some countries, rising transport
emissions have outweighed the reductions made in other sectors;

9. Considers it essential that people should be encouraged to
shift modes away from high-polluting modes of transport and onto
more environmentally-friendly forms of transport such as high speed

10. Acknowledging that transport costs have become too low,
mainly due to the fact that most transport modes do not cover their
external costs and that wages and working conditions have been
weakened and undermined during the neo-liberal era of the past 30

11. Aware that emissions from fossil fuels are not only a
problem for the environment, but also for the health and safety of
transport workers;

12. Noting the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC), informed by data amassed and reviewed by
more than 2,000 scientists, that global warming must be kept within
2 degrees Centigrade above pre-industrial levels to ensure a 50%
chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change;

13. Noting that there is a growing body of scientists who
maintain that the 2 degrees scenario is itself dangerous given the
potential climate impacts on vulnerable countries and communities,
and that low lying costal communities in particular therefore will
require more radical measures and support;

14. Aware that limiting warming to no more than 2 degrees
requires a sharp reduction in the volume of emissions entering our
atmosphere, and that steps need to be taken now to achieve a 25-40%
cut from 1990-levels by 2020 and a 50-80% cut by 2050;

15. Believes that the market-based solutions of governments and
employers have thus far failed to seriously deal with rising
emissions, and that addressing the climate crisis will require a
far-reaching political and economic transformation driven by
alternative social and environmental priorities, including major
government driven investments, social and technological innovation
and skills development, social protection and trade union

16. Recognises that not only climate change, but also the
policies needed to prevent it, including a shift to low carbon
forms of transport, will have an impact on the number of jobs in
most transport sectors, particularly in public transport and among
those which are engaged in the transport of fossil fuels –
although with different effects;

17. Believes that while the urgent adoption of these policies is
vital to tackle climate change, the ITF and its affiliates must
defend the interests of transport workers by fighting to ensure
that these policies are implemented in a way which defends jobs and
creates new ones through a process of just transition;

18. Believes that the environmental impact of transport is
inseparable from how transport is controlled and organized in the
global economy. The greater part of transport needs are not created
in the transport sector itself, but are created by demands in other
parts of the economy, through existing production and consumption
patterns. The growth in transport emissions is thus a result of a
transport system geared towards a trade-based model of economic
expansion, just-in-time production and the competitive needs of
multinational corporations, resulting in negative effects for
workers, communities and the environment;


a) The ITF and its affiliates, on being guided by experts, take
a science-based approach to emissions reductions and climate
change, and therefore commit themselves to defining and
contributing to the major transformations which are required in
transport and across society as a whole.

b) The ITF supports sustainable transport alternatives based on
a Reduce-Shift-Improve (RSI) framework which recognises that to
achieve emission reductions there will have to be fundamental
changes in the current system of globalised production which relies
on global supply chains, low transport costs and cheap and
increasingly casual labour.

c) The ITF thus supports initiatives and measures which
strengthen democratic control of the economy, curb financial
speculation, reorient financial flows towards sustainable
developments and re-introduce market regulations as necessary
measures to reduce unnecessary transport needs, stop cut-throat
competition and plan an integrated and sustainable transport

d) The ITF considers the necessary transition to a low-carbon
economy and a sustainable transport system as an opportunity to
creating a better society for all – with more equality
between countries and people, eradication of poverty, increased
democracy, better working conditions and less pressure and

e) The ITF will insist that developed countries take their
historic responsibility for the climate crisis and thus assist
developing countries in their transition to sustainable economic
development through transformation funds, national control of
natural resources and free transfer of technology.

f) The ITF support the transition to a green industry policy to
achieve the necessary emission reductions and the creation of
millions of new socially and environmentally sustainable jobs. This
policy must be based on national programmes which link
infrastructure investments, procurement policies, local content
rules and positive support for domestic manufacturing to underpin
the transition to a low-carbon society.

g) The ITF will never accept that the transition to a low-carbon
society takes place through increased unemployment and the
undermining of wages and working conditions of transport workers. A
just transition therefore has to involve job creation, decent work
and quality jobs, a radical redistribution of wealth and social
security schemes which safeguard peoples’ livelihood and
social and human rights.

h) ITF industrial sections and structures must work together to
define the specific measures required in each transport section for
changing the way goods and people are moved around as well as new
methods and technologies to promote energy efficiency.

i) The ITF supports that all transport modes cover their own
external costs — including costs which are today paid by
society as a whole. This should not, of course, prevent governments
from organising collectively financed universal public services.
Access to the industry should be tightly regulated. Wages, working
conditions and social standards for transport workers should be
improved, in order to reduce transport demands which are created as
a result of substandard conditions and low costs.

j) The ITF leads a campaign for the rapid scaling up of good
public transport services world-wide, and the development of
infrastructure to help counter rampant motorization.

k) The ITF supports the inclusion of emission reduction targets
for international maritime and aviation in a new global agreement,
and as a matter of urgency will develop a union position on the
proposed measures for developing and implementing these targets.
The ITF will continue to play an active role in ICAO and IMO on
these questions.

l) The ITF and its affiliates build alliances with other social
and environmental movements at a local, regional and global level
to support sustainable transport alternatives and wider

m) The ITF continues to participate in and support Global Union
initiatives on climate change, including trade union representation
at global intergovernmental climate change talks and for measures
and solutions which can guarantee a just transition to a low-carbon

n) The Executive Board promote, together with ITF sections,
in-depth studies of the impact of climate change, and the policies
to tackle it, on employment in the different sectors of transport
with a view to identifying:
• The number and type of transport jobs which will be
• The new jobs which will be created.
• The process by which a just transition can be carried out
within the different transport sectors.

o) The ITF secretariat should:
• represent the joint interests of transport workers to secure
a just transition to a sustainable transport system based on secure
jobs, good wages and decent working conditions.
• research and develop guidelines and case-studies on how
adaptation and mitigation measures might impact on the organisation
of work in the transport industry.
• implement a comprehensive education programme on climate
change in all ITF regions to raise awareness and build union
capacity to respond to climate change.
• build a network of affiliates interested in planning and
coordinating union activities on climate change.
• allocate adequate resources for continued work on climate

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