Everybody is needed in the urgent struggle to end the use of fossil fuels and minimize the damage caused by having too much carbon in the atmosphere. I recently recruited a leader of a local labor organization to this cause. She said that she understood how important climate change was and wanted to be part of the movement, but asked, "How can I justify this as a cause for the labor movement to take up?" I provided the following three justifications. Can you think of other reasons? Please post them.

  1. Health. Access to health care is a key labor issue, and unions are very concerned about both sickness and its costs. Carbon pollution is concentrated in areas where the fossil fuels are produced and where they are released, both more intense in low-income areas. Such things as asthma and cancer are associated with carbon pollution.
  2. Jobs. Solar power and energy conservation produce excellent, safe working-class jobs, much more than fossil fuels. Fossil fuel jobs are limited, and often involve risks such as coal mine explosions, lung disease, and accidents on oil igs.
  3. Economic disruption. The devastation of storms and other carbon-related disasters are hurting the economy right now and make it harder for everyone to afford basic necessities.

Andy Oram

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