COP20: The public option in green policies

Climate change solutions must place the public good over private profits. 

logo for the Public Services InternationalLima, Peru (10 Dec. 2014) — Federal, provincial and municipal governments have an important role in creating, implementing and monitoring green initiatives, not in outsourcing this work to private interests. This is a message that the Public Services International (PSI) put forward at the UN Climate Change Summit, COP20, in Lima, Peru. 

Public subsidies for private profits are not a solution 

“Public subsidies for private profits are not a solution,” says David Boys, PSI Deputy General Secretary.  "After many years of decentralisation, and with the ongoing effects of the financial and economic crises, many local governments are starved of finance. The solution is more investment in public provision rather than more private business.”

In particular, PSI believes that renewables must be part of any strategy for sustainable development. “Many local authorities are using public finance and public management to build and operate renewables. It is leading to the creation of smaller, decentralised energy units.”

Support a green economy that rejects privatization, promotes decent work opportunities and preserves our natural resources for the public good

PSI does not support the “Green Economy” as currently defined, which is more about neo-liberal solutions, such as 'financialization' and commodification of nature, and further privatization than about accompanying climate policies and actions with the promotion of decent work opportunities arising from a low-emission society.

At COP20, PSI joins the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in its proposals for a “Just Transition” for workers, contributing to protecting them in times of hardship, strengthening social dialogue, securing their rights, growing new sectors, and promoting prosperity and sustainable development.

According to its 2012 World Congress, PSI is mandated to highlight the continuing challenge of finding a sustainable response to environmental degradation, the desperate need to preserve natural resources, and to address the question of unemployment. PSI also underlines the fact that the frightening frequency of natural disasters (that more and more have a man-made component) is due to the lack of public policy and adequate funding of public services, which assume an important role at each stage — from disaster prevention to emergency response, recovery, and restoration. The physical and psychological strain placed on public services workers who carry out these tasks is immeasurable, and excessive reduction and privatization of public services have exacerbated these issues.

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is an affliate of the PSI. 

Unions to join People's Climate March on December 10, International Day for Human Rights

Many PSI affiliated unions will be joining in the People’s Climate March in Lima on December 10, the UN Day for Human Rights. By holding the March on this day, participants will send the message to international leaders that the right to live on a healthy planet is one of our human rights. Leaders and officials need to make decisions based on the common good, rather thanon  corporate influence and profit. 


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE