The GEN is currently in the process of mounting a “one million climate jobs” campaign throughout Canada in the coming years. Originally, the idea of developing national campaigns calling for the creation of “one million climate jobs” was initiated in the UK and South Africa in 2010. Since then, initiatives have been undertaken in other countries by unions and allied environmental and social justice organizations in several other countries, including Canada.
In our view, this is a medium to long term campaign in this country. Through our regional roundtables, GEN hopes that more and more communities will begin to rise-up and demand action for “climate jobs now!” in key sectors of the economy. The three pillars of the GEN common platform around the three sectors of the economy that we have identified in our common platform constitute a starting point but other sectors can be added. By mounting community-based campaigns, we hope to provoke a change in the political will of governments —municipal, provincial, and federal.
There is nothing especially magic about the ‘one million’ climate jobs figure. But it does have strategic value not only in setting an achievable target but also in cultivating a sense of public confidence that we can, as a society, collectively make the shift to building a new economy in this country. Moreover, several of the projects we propose — high speed rail between urban centres, smart electrical grids for renewable energy, and green home building retrofits across the country — could be promoted as real “nation building” initiatives in contrast to multiple energy pipeline schemes designed to transport carbon polluting oil from the bitumen sands to our west, east or northern coasts primarily for export to overseas markets.
At GEN, we put priority on creating ‘climate jobs’ as distinct from ‘green jobs.’ Since the climate crisis is arguably the environmental struggle of our times, we need to focus our attention on bringing about structural changes in various sectors of our economy to more specifically create ‘climate jobs.’ By climate jobs we mean decent and secure jobs that directly contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, thereby preventing climate change and global warming. Our overall aim, therefore, is to organize and fight for a new economy in an age of climate change.
In doing so, we want to make it a public priority to develop and implement new economic policies and strategies for the creation of jobs in key sectors that contribute directly to the reduction of carbon and greenhouse gas emissions which cause the heating of the planet. These climate jobs, in turn, should be designed to provide more secure forms of employment that would ensure greater social equity for marginalized peoples such as the unemployed and working poor, including Indigenous peoples, people of colour, and youth.
At present, the GEN is committed to generating public pressure and support for the creation of ‘climate jobs’ in three sectors of the economy:  renewable energy;  green buildings; and  public transportation. Our common platform, Making the Shift to a Green Economy, outlines policy options and a plan of action for moving in this direction.