Intervene in the economy to safeguard our futureby Rebecca Long-Bailey / September 5, 2019 / Leave a comment
Let’s start with the facts: the government is set to miss its climate targets and is falling ever further behind. The Committee on Climate Change said in 2018 that the UK is not on track to meet our “fourth and fifth carbon budgets.” What that means is that the government’s plans for reducing emissions are not good enough if we are to meet our targets up to the early 2030s, which were set by the Labour government back in 2008.
In April of this year, official statistics showed that rather than closing this gap, the UK was moving backwards. When you look at the recent record, it’s not hard to see why. New solar installations have collapsed—to 98 per cent lower for the first quarter of 2019 than the average rate for 2015. The number of home insulation measures funded by the government has fallen 95 per cent since 2012. The government has effectively banned new onshore wind—the cheapest form of renewable energy—and instead supported the development of fracking.
Ministers have now adopted a more ambitious target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, but haven’t introduced the policies to get there. At the current rate of progress, the UK will not reach net zero before 2099—far too late to avoid further dangerous climate change.
What would Labour do? We believe that tackling the climate emergency will require nothing less than a Green Industrial Revolution. This will take a willingness to intervene in the economy to safeguard our future—anathema to many Conservatives, and part of the reason why the Tories are failing here. In practice, this means huge investment to dramatically accelerate the rollout of wind power and installing solar panels on millions of homes—cutting bills and emissions at the same time.
As well as tackling climate change, Labour’s revolution will create hundreds of thousands of good, unionised jobs in the technologies of the future, harnessing tidal power, manufacturing low-carbon steel and developing improved energy storage. This can transform parts of the UK that have been held back by decades of under-investment and de-industrialisation.
We must ensure that decarbonisation does not lead to a repeat of the disastrous mistakes of the 1980s. That’s why Labour will support people in carbon-intense sectors and ensure that all…