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NY transit union leader Roger Toussaint calls for action on climate adaptation
Date 07/12/15/20:16

A Special Labor Report From The
United Nations Conference on Global Warming

by Sean Sweeney, Director, Cornell Global Labor Institute

(Reporting directly from Nusa Dua, Bali - Tuesday, December 11)

NY transit union leader Roger Toussaint calls for
action on climate adaptation.

TWU Local 100 president Roger Toussaint became
the first ever US trade union leader to address
the main meeting of the UN's climate change

Toussaint, speaking for the the International
Trade Union Confederation which represents 365
labor federations in 150 countries, spoke in the
debate on adaptation to climate change. The NY
transit union leader told the body, "As trade
unions, we recognize that the best way to create
the conditions for adaptation to climate change
is to address poverty by creating a decent
living standard for people, which includes fair
wages and benefits"

Countries in the global South are feeling the
effects of climate change in ways that are both
immediate and deadly, as seen in the recent
cyclone in Bangladesh that killed 10,000 people.
The trade unions in Bali have called on rich
countries to honor their commitments to poor
countries made under the Kyoto protocol. The
developed world is responsible for the much of
the global warming that's occurring, but it's
the poor countries who are paying the biggest
price. Toussaint urged national governments to
fully fund the Nairobi work program adopted at
the 2006 negotiations in Kenya. "The program is
crucial because the poor are the most
vulnerable. They lack the resources to respond
to climate change," said Toussaint.

The Nairobi work program commits resources for
adaptation infrastructure such as flood
defenses. However, the resources have been slow
to materialize. According to the UN's
Development Program, just $26 million has been
spent on adaptation in the poor countries,
compared to billions of dollars spent on
adaptation measures in countries like Britain,
the Netherlands, Germany and the U.S.

The 9-day climate change meeting has been taking
place in Bali, Indonesia, and will conclude on
Saturday. The objective of the talks is to lay
down a roadmap for a global response the climate

Toussaint is part of a 20-person delegation from
the the US labor movement. For more information
about the delegation, see:

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