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The Paris Climate Change Agreement Is a Landmark Achievement

Photo courtesy Asian Development Bank on Flickr

The AFL-CIO applauds the U.N. Paris climate change agreement as a landmark achievement in international cooperation that is both sensible and achievable. We support the use of “nationally determined contributions” and recognize the importance of the transparency mechanisms, which allow appropriate responses if commitments are not met.

Workers must be at the center of any successful effort to address climate change. Workers in certain sectors will bear the brunt of transitional job and income loss. For this reason, the agreement appropriately recognizes “...the imperatives of a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent work and quality jobs....”

As a society, we cannot forget those who performed a lifetime of difficult and dangerous work to power America’s economy. We must ensure their retirement benefits are not lost in bankruptcy courts or the halls of Congress.

Business must do its part by investing in the affected communities and creating family-supporting jobs like those that will be lost. It is still unclear whether the emerging clean energy sector is able to provide those jobs on the scale needed. We also need significant investment in carbon capture and nuclear technologies.

The U.S. labor movement will work to create a better future for affected communities. The international community has reached an important agreement. We call on America to make the promises real.

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