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Climate Jobs and Just transition: Green Foundation conference takes place at Queen’s

Delegates from across Ireland and the UK gathered to discuss the issue of a ‘just transition’ from a fossil-fuel based economy to a clean economy on Saturday, 9 November 2019

Asad Rehman, Executive Director, War on Want

In a joint conference, hosted at Queen’s by Professor John Barry (HAPP) in partnership with the Green Foundation Ireland and the Green European Foundation, heard talks from researchers and activists on a range of topics, taking in climate-related jobs, the role of trade unions, and the role of electric and hydrogen powered vehicles in building a sustainable economy.

Professor Barry was also delighted to welcome Asad Rehman, Executive Director of War on Want, to give the keynote address on a ‘Global Green New Deal’. Mr Rehman, who has also served as Head of International Climate at Friends of the Earth, as well as sitting on the board of Amnesty International UK, stressed the importance of taking a global perspective in looking at sustainability.

The founding slogans of War on Want were “we need justice, not charity”, said Mr Rehman, “and poverty is political”. It is important to take into account the legacy of colonialism and imperialism, he added, when thinking about the impact of climate change. Not only is it the case that those who did least to cause the problem are those first and most severely affected, but the question of who gets to control resources remains an issue.

“Climate change is not just an injustice in itself”, said Rehman, “it fuels every other existing injustice and inequality in the world”, such as conflict fuelled by drought, the death of livestock, and people being internally displaced by desertification.

The conference also heard from representatives of the Green House Think Tank, who presented a breakdown of figures on the number of jobs that could be created through a transition to a sustainable economy; speakers from Belfast City Council, as well as Dr Damien McIlroy (HAPP) and Dr Amanda Slevin (P-CAN) on place-based policy alignment and the Belfast Climate Commission; representatives of the Trade Union movement; and researchers working on the role of non-carbon based energy sources, including Dr Juliana Early, Deputy Head of Queen’s University’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

To find out about the work of the Green European Foundation visit their site here.

For more on the Green Foundation Ireland visit this website.

For more on the work of the P-CAN network, click here.