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IRE2715: Climate Crisis and the Future of Work

This subject guide is meant to assist students, particularly those enrolled in IRE2715, with research papers and assignments.

Welcome to Climate Crisis and the Future of Work

"As the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has highlighted, we are living in a "code red for humanity" moment with incremental increases in temperature bringing widespread climate breakdown, extreme weather, and irreversible harms. Only rapid and drastic reductions in greenhouse gases alongside transformative policy changes to our economy, energy systems, and labour markets on to a low-carbon path, can prevent such climate breakdown.  

Yet, the world of work appears ill-prepared to address many of these challenges. Key policies to address the transitions required for renewable energy, decarbonized transport, and clean manufacturing as well as for good jobs and retraining are still missing. While many institutions, organizations, and actors negotiating the transition in their workplaces currently lack the understanding, policies, tools, and practical exemplars for addressing this epochal change.

This course aims to address these gaps. By building student understanding of climate and work issues, participants will learn about best international practices that support good jobs and build renewable energy economies. And by introducing students into major policy and political and organizational debates, course participants will have the opportunity to evaluate how business and labour organizations – as well as governments - can strengthen their environmental commitments, improve jobs, and build their political momentum.

The course opens by introducing students to key drivers of global warming, and to how workers, unions, and labour markets are affected by climate change. It then evaluates contemporary policy solutions and labour market pathways for decarbonization and sustainability. The course concludes by examining what new initiatives are currently being forged by world of work actors to push governments towards developing policies that meet the scale and urgency of the climate crisis in Canada and around the world. 

This seminar will provide you with the opportunity to develop your knowledge and research background in this ever-growing field of study and expertise. It will also offer you opportunities to write accessible responses, briefs, and research presentations – skills valuable for a range of professional positions in government, labour organizations, the private sector, and civil society organizations."