Labour needs more than a few warm words on the environment, energy security and climate change

18th June, 2013 12:09 pm

It seems that with the announcements of their intention to end universality in social security and accept the Coalition’s spending envelopes, Labour are gradually beginning to articulate what the Labour Party’s 2015 manifesto will look like.

While much has been said on social security, general economic direction and housing shortages; there has been little said on the environment, energy security and climate change. Other than a few warm words from Mary Creagh MP in LabourList’s ‘One Nation Labour: Debating the Future’ pamphlet, the Labour Party have said very little on this incredibly important topic.

The idea of a genuinely transformative environmental policy is often dismissed as unimportant when the economy is in such a parlous state requiring ‘laser-focus’ and ‘tough choices’. However, those who disregard the power of a radical green manufacturing policy in a 2015 Labour manifesto ignore the fact that such radical policies could hold the greatest solution to our economic woes.

Much like our economy shows no signs of recovery under an agenda of austerity, the planet shows no signs of a long-term cool down in the absence of a radical preventative and sustainable alternative.

Of course, the irony in all this is that countries that have invested in large scale green infrastructure projects have weathered the economic downturn better than we have. Furthermore, they’re future proofing their energy security from increasingly volatile world energy markets; investing in green growth and highly skilled green jobs. The Coalition are not.

Economically speaking, radical investment in the green economy makes sense. It is estimated to be worth around £122bn to the UK and currently accounts for around 8% of GDP. To put that in perspective, that’s a greater share of GDP than telecoms, aerospace or car manufacturing. The Coalition likes to visit car factories for photo opportunities, but when did you last see any of the front bench at a wind turbine manufacturer?

The CBI have said that “over a third of the UK’s economic growth in 2011-12 is likely to have come from green business” so why aren’t Labour putting two and two together? If green business is such a rich seam of income to the economy, why isn’t Labour prioritising it as a source of revenue with radical investment? It’s win-win: the economy will recover faster and the UK will become cleaner and greener.

Fundamentally, we must re-prioritise the issue of sustainability in our policy agenda. We face higher cereal prices because of failing crops that in turn leads to a rising cost of living. We’re enduring longer, colder winters that not only effect our natural environment but our food prices and our sense of wellbeing.

In addition to this, we have coal-fired power stations and nuclear power stations going offline and the Government – many of whose members despise state subsidies – are pinning all their hopes on new nuclear power which requires astronomical state subsidies!

In the next year or so, Labour should be articulating ambitious plans to protect our environment, halt the effects of climate change and diversify our energy sources. We should be engaging our world class Universities in researching and developing underused forms of renewable energy such as tidal and geothermal as well as ensuring continuous investment in wind and solar power.

It is evident that the Coalition’s environmental agenda is in tatters. Now is the time for Labour to present a radical environmental agenda to boost jobs and growth; ensure our future energy security and put sustainability at the heart of everything we do.

  • AlanGiles

    The Green economy has a great deal of potential, and the possibilities are endless and exciting, but sadly, it doesn’t really fit the modern idea in politics where you need an immediate “solution”, or at least the appearance of one.

    The main parties are constrained by their need to win the next election and will always have one eye firmly on the polls and popular opinion, and, certainly at the moment, environmental issues come quite low down on the list of priorities, for large swathes of the public, so of course, the “big two” (three?) will pay lip service, but do little else.

    It is only, sadly, when there is some natural disaster the public start to think of the environment and it is only when, as in 1989’s European elections, Green politics became more prominent that the main political parties pretend an interest – the reason for Mrs Thatcher’s temporary conversion in 1989 was more to do with the Ecology Party, as it then was doing well in the UK, than it was conviction.

    But I like this article.

    AG 18/6/13 1514BST

  • Quiet_Sceptic

    Tom Greatrex made some announcement about Labour committing to a target to decarbonise the UK’s electricity supply by 2030 so there’s evidently some plans in progress.

    Delivering it will be another matter, I don’t think many in politics actually appreciate the enormity of achieving that goal and enormity really doesn’t do justice to the scale of project we are talking about.

    Decarbonising, what say 30-40GW of existing fossil fired generating plant, probably having to rebuild a significant proportion of it in the process, replacing 8GW of life-expired nuclear plant and probably building more, more renewables is a given.
    The scale of what we’re talking about is huge yet with just 17 years we’ve barely started and the key technologies we’ll need – new nuclear and large scale CCS are still in the planning stages.

Latest

  • News Corbyn campaign unhappy over Diane Abbott text row

    Corbyn campaign unhappy over Diane Abbott text row

    Yesterday, Labour members and registered supporters in London received a text from “Jeremy”, endorsing Diane Abbott in the race to become the candidate for London Mayor. For smartphone users, the name at the top appeared as “J Corbyn”: Always assumed @jeremycorbyn supported @HackneyAbbott for Mayor but this text to party members has made if formal pic.twitter.com/6i2yRshzEi — Andy Goss (@andygoss) July 29, 2015 However, LabourList now understands that not only was the text not agreed with the Jeremy Corbyn campaign, […]

    Read more →
  • News Yvette Cooper calls for Government to put “maximum diplomatic pressure” on France over Calais crisis

    Yvette Cooper calls for Government to put “maximum diplomatic pressure” on France over Calais crisis

    Yvette Cooper has called for the Government to put “maximum diplomatic pressure” on France over the refugee crisis in Calais. The shadow Home Secretary has argued that as the crisis worsens “the diplomacy with the French government isn’t working to get a sustainable solution.” She has called for “sufficient border staff” in Calais to ” to maintain order with the French Government and prevent people losing their lives.” Over 3,000 people – many of whom are thought to be refugees – are living […]

    Read more →
  • News Scotland Post-referendum slump drove Labour’s defeat in Scotland

    Post-referendum slump drove Labour’s defeat in Scotland

    Labour’s appalling election showing in Scotland was driven by those who had supported independence leaving the party to vote for the SNP – and the Nationalists’ economic message helped strengthen their landslide in the final months. However, the new research carried out by the British Election Study (BES), found that Yes to Independence voters were likely to move from Labour to SNP regardless of their views on austerity. Labour were reduced from 41 seats in Scotland to just one on […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News CWU and TSSA announce they’re backing Jeremy Corbyn to be Labour’s next leader

    CWU and TSSA announce they’re backing Jeremy Corbyn to be Labour’s next leader

    Update: TSSA, the transport union, have also announced that they’re endorsing Corbyn to be leader, with Burnham as second preference, and Eagle as deputy leader, with Watson as second preference. Their full statement is below. CWU has announced that they are backing Jeremy Corbyn to be Labour’s next leader. The union represents workers in the postal and telecoms sector. Dave Ward, CWU’s general secretary, released a video (which you can see below) explaining their decision. CWU will be also recommend members […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Labour’s ground campaign is better than the Tories’, and here’s why

    Labour’s ground campaign is better than the Tories’, and here’s why

    Much has been said about why Labour lost the General Election – again – but in the current post-mortem, we are at risk of undermining the one thing we do better than any other political movement; our ground game. Labour should be immensely proud of what we can achieve together on the ground, entirely outclassing other political operations both in terms of our tactics and our reach. In Ealing Central and Acton, our two and a half year campaign resulted […]

    Read more →
Share with your friends










Submit