December 15, 2009

Going Green: Iannuzzi discusses higher ed with Energy Secretary Chu

Source: NYSUT News Wire
Caption: A silent demonstration in support of Africa at the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference. Photo by Dick Iannuzzi.

At the 4C's – the climate change conference in Copenhagen - NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi is advancing two more 'Cs' - community colleges - as he advocates for their role in a green economy.

Iannuzzi says via e-mail that he "met as part of delegation with U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. I spoke about the importance of investment in post-secondary education - especially community colleges - to prepare for and re-train for green jobs and new technology."

President Obama and Vice President Biden have affirmed their support for higher education's essential role during visits to New York State.

Iannuzzi is at the United Nations summit as a delegate representing one of NYSUT's national affiliates, the American Federation of Teachers.

He reports that "security is incredibly tight" at COP-15, shorthand for the 15th gathering of participants in the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.  He was among "thousands waiting to enter Bella Center in Denmark's predawn light for the start of a busy second week at COP 15 in Copenhagen." Waits of five hours or more to register were common.

A silent protest in support of Africa was one of the many events staged for an expected 25,000 delegates and observers at the historic summit.

Some 40 union members from the United States are attending as part of a 400-member global union movement delegation led by the International Trade Union.   

At last spring's NYSUT Representative Assembly, delegates directed the union to advanced a platform of advocacy on green issues and climate change.