Very few Labour Party members now dispute the reality of the climate crisis, the need for large scale funding of green energy, or why Labour must be the ones to lead this fight.
The Green Industrial Revolution (or Green New Deal) is heavily focused on ensuring climate and social justice with a promise that workers nor communities will be left behind. It also includes a commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2030 if possible.
The proposal boasts creation of 400,000 new skilled, unionised and sustainable jobs. This is in conjunction with a £250bn National Transformation Fund, providing long neglected regional investments to public transport, housing and infrastructure, and a National Education Service to retrain adults in quality, sustainable and well paid jobs for the future.
The long term returns on these investments would go a long way to paying off money borrowed in the first place, as outlined in the Guardian by Ann Pettifour (ex-advisor to John McDonnell and architect of the GND). The remainder could be paid for by stopping fossil fuel subsidies, and increasing taxes for billionaires and their companies.
Labour worked with many trade unions and climate activists to cultivate this policy, evading the often adversarial nature of climate protesters and energy sector workers. This is a marked success for Labour and seems to have been hugely understated by mainstream reporting.
In a long form interview, during party conference, Steve Turner — a Unite trade unionist — reassured supporters that “we absolutely support the motion as it is”. Unite represent steel workers, airport workers, car industry workers, and coal and gas workers. A plethora of trade unions followed suit in backing the motion at conference in September.
I highly doubt that the Conservative or Liberal Democrat parties would be able to unite these often disparate factions with their own environmental policies in any comparably meaningful way.
If Labour do not lead the way on climate policy, and ensure workers’ rights and protections, deindustrialisation of high emission industries could be just as catastrophic as it was to mining communities under Thatcherism — most of which never recovered, and were then pushed further into poverty under Tory austerity.
Our Green Industrial Revolution is vital to Labour’s quest for justice: economic, ecological and social. Its also likely to attract many young voters, who are are disproportionately likely to prioritise climate breakdown when voting. The climate strikes over the past year have demonstrated this quite clearly, with thousands of children missing school to attend.
Following our declaration of a climate emergency earlier this year, the Labour Party is — and evidently intends to continue — leading Westminster on Climate Policy.
If you’re wondering what you could do to help Labour in this fight, here’s a few suggestions:
- Speak to your friends and family about the Green New Deal as a positive vision for the future. Try to dislodge fear and pessimism being sown by much of the media and political establishment.
- Get involved in SERA, Labour’s environmental campaign group. Get involved in leafletting or phone banking in your local area.
- Join or donate to Extinction Rebellion or any other climate pressure group. To achieve such radical change, we need to apply pressure both from inside Westminster, and from outside of it simultaneously.
The atmosphere during green campaigns truly is magical. People from all ages and classes, with all levels of ability, and with hugely different life experiences, uniting as one. I’d liken the atmosphere to that of gigs or sporting events, but with a real sense of urgency.
I urge you with all my heart to go and experience it for yourself. In this age of individualism, collective joy is something worth savouring.
If you can find the time to participate: I personally guarantee that you will leave feeling energised, with renewed hope for our future, new perspectives, new ideas and new friends.
Our planet needs your help, and if everyone were to donate just 50p or half an hour or their time, we’d be much better equipped to fight what is undoubtedly the biggest challenge to civilisation in human history.