December 7, 2007 Volume 108 Number 23

Oregon AFL-CIO’s Byrd to attend climate change conference in Bali

Oregon AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Barbara Byrd is part of a national delegation of 25 union leaders attending a conference on climate change Dec. 3-14 in Bali, Indonesia.

The 13th Conference of the Parties (COP13) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will draw close to 100 unionists from around the world. Leading the union delegation from the United States will be Bob Baugh, executive director of the Industrial Union Council, AFL-CIO. Baugh is a former secretary-treasurer of the Oregon AFL-CIO.

The COP13 delegation will be coordinated by the International Trade Union Confederation and the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), with other trade union bodies through a trade union Working Group on Climate Change.

“Climate change presents massive challenges for trade unions globally, in developed and developing nations,” said Philip Pearson, chair of the Trade Union Working Group on climate change. “We intend to mount a strong lobby in Bali for targets in the post-Kyoto period that will substantially increase cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, as well as to work for the adoption of a Green Jobs strategy to deal with employment impacts of change.”

Pearson is senior policy officer at the UK Trades Union Congress, with responsibility for climate change and energy policy. He recently became the first chair of the Global Union’s Climate Working Group, after unions obtained formal constituency status with the UNFCCC, which allows them the same level of recognition as business and non-governmental organizations.”

“It’s an incredibly important event, and an exciting opportunity,” Byrd told the NW Labor Press. “I think there’s strong interest in this whole climate change discussion, locally and globally.”

The U.S. delegation will issue a report from COP13 and Byrd plans to share the information at union meetings.

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