Ed Miliband has spoken out in favour of the 2030 emissions reduction target set out under the last Labour leadership, saying that it was “completely right on the ambition we need over the next decade”.
In a call with activists from the Labour for a Green New Deal campaign group last night, the Shadow Business and Energy Secretary told 150 attendees: “I don’t resile one iota from the manifesto.”
Following increasing pressure from party members for the new Labour leadership to take a stronger stance on a green coronavirus recovery, he said: “I’m not in this job to scale back on ambition.”
Miliband also reiterated his support for the government taking public equity stakes in struggling airline companies to protect jobs in the coronavirus crisis and to “drive a low-carbon transition”.
There have been concerns among some activists that the 2030 target may have been dropped by Labour, as Keir Starmer’s spokesperson last month refused to confirm that the aim was currently party policy.
Commenting on the call, spokesperson for Labour for a Green New Deal Lauren Townsend said: “It was encouraging to hear Ed Miliband’s commitment to slashing emissions by 2030, and an improved stance on aviation.
“With the Arctic burning and unemployment soaring, now is the time for the Labour leadership to push for a truly transformative Green New Deal.
“As we made clear to the Labour frontbench, this has to mean expanding our commitments to public ownership across the economy, creating millions of green jobs and building a fairer, cleaner, greener economy post-Covid.”
1,300 supporters of the campaign group signed a letter to the Labour leader this week, accusing him of being “missing in action” and demanding a ‘People’s Green New Deal’ as part of the UK’s coronavirus pandemic recovery.
Townsend added: “Amid economic, health and climate crises, Labour members expect Keir Starmer to keep to his promise to “put the Green New Deal at the heart of everything we do”. Now is the time to step up.”
The comments from the Shadow Business and Energy Secretary yesterday follow a letter from Labour left MPs including Jeremy Corbyn, who have called on the new leadership to back the ‘Green New Deal’ programme.
Miliband set out the need for “the most ambitious green recovery in the world” last month, and called for a “zero carbon army of young people” in order to implement a green economic rescue from coronavirus.
During the Labour leadership contest, Keir Starmer pledged to “fight for a Green New Deal now” and said that the country “cannot wait until 2024 to tackle the climate crisis”.
But asked whether Labour backs a 2030 net-zero target recently, his spokesperson stressed that that the next Labour manifesto including the decarbonisation target would be “written in four or five years’ time”.