By Sacha Ismail
Below is the policy on climate change and a Green New Deal passed by Labour conference today (Tuesday 24 September).
A less radical but not contradictory version was also passed. Although a third, more radical version with a clearer emissions target, opposition to airport expansion and support for public ownership and democratic control of finance was carved out by the CAC, this result is a definite victory and step forward.
Massive credit is due, obviously, to the activists of Labour for a Green New Deal. However, we are also extremely proud of the demands included from the model motions The Clarion promoted – including:
• full public ownership of energy;
• free or cheap public transport;
• repeal of all anti-union laws, so that workers can freely take action over the climate.
This in addition to various other wording taken from our motions. These demands – along with the phrase “Socialist Green New Deal” – come from the motion we helped Fire Brigades Union activists put together which was passed at the FBU conference in May. The FBU played a very important role at Labour conference.
We need to build the fight to ensure Labour’s commitment is not watered down but rather radicalised and developed further in a socialist direction; and to develop a working-class climate movement.
Labour’s Socialist Green New Deal
Mover: Fire Brigades Union
To prevent the worst effects of climate change, we must keep global temperature rises below 1.5°C.
Over 1°C of warming has taken place, causing floods, droughts, heatwaves, pollution, and hundreds of thousands of deaths. The poorest suffer most.
Just 100 companies are responsible for the majority of carbon emissions; and the Conservative government is deregulating the fossil fuel industry and cutting support for renewables.
Labour has supported the youth strikes for climate and Extinction Rebellion, pushing the climate emergency up the national agenda.
The UK has accrued wealth since industrialisation through disproportionately high emissions, while the poor, the global south, and women suffer the greatest climate impacts. Domestically and internationally: Social, economic and gender justice is inextricable from climate justice.
Combining decarbonisation with a progressive restructuring of the economy gives us the possibility to both create green jobs and fight the threat of climate chaos.
The cost of decarbonisation must be borne by the wealthiest not the poorest.
Decarbonisation could produce thousands of well-paid, skilled jobs in renewables and the supply chain. This will be based on public ownership and democratic control.
In a workers-led ‘just transition’ from high emission jobs to alternatives; public investment guaranteeing communities and living standards.
A Green New Deal is therefore now a demand we must make.
Conference therefore calls on the Labour Party to include a Green New Deal in the manifesto: a state-led programme of investment and regulation, based on public ownership and democratic control, for the decarbonisation and transformation of our economy that reduces inequality and pursues efforts to keep global average temperature rises below 1.5°C.
In power Labour will:
In collaboration with the trade unions and the scientific community, work towards a path to net zero carbon emissions by 2030, guaranteeing an increase in good unionised jobs in the UK, and the cost of which would be borne by the wealthiest not the majority; and implementing this target into law if it achieves a just transition for workers.
Introduce a complete ban on fracking.
Oversee a just transition, increasing the number of well-paid, unionised green jobs in the UK through:
• public ownership of energy, creating an integrated, democratic system;
• public ownership of the Big Six;
• large-scale investment in renewables and low-carbon energy.
Repeal all anti-union laws, facilitating worker-led activism over social and political issues, including climate change.
Address regional economic imbalances and areas of deprivation.
Ensure the costs of decarbonisation are borne by the wealthiest through progressive taxation, not working people and their families.
Take transport into public ownership and invest in expanded, integrated, free or affordable green public transport that connects Britain, including:
• rail electrification;
• continued support for high-speed rail, because of the additional capacity that it will createfor rail freight on the West Coast Mainline, removing polluting HGVs and other vehicles from roads;
• the transition to sustainably powered rail freight;
• creation of rail freight interchanges;
• community transport;
• investment in electric buses that can reconnect local communities;
• integrated public transport timetabling;
• local schemes that make walking and active travel safe, attractive, environmentally sustainable options, benchmarked against European practice;
• a radical car scrappage scheme to increase electric vehicles.
Tackle fuel poverty and assure everyone’s basic rights through the provision of universal services.
A radical programme to up skill the UK workforce to develop, manufacture and manage the greening of the UK.
Building and retrofitting of zero-carbon social and council housing and public buildings with lowest possible embedded carbon in construction.
Support developing countries’ climate transitions through free or cheap transfers of finance, technology and capacity.
Welcome climate refugees while taking measures against the displacement of peoples from their homes.
Promote the international exchange of technology, expertise, products, resources and services to learn from and help other countries achieve a Green New Deal.
Implement a programme of ecological restoration to increase biodiversity and natural carbon sequestration.
Measure and tackle consumption emissions, not just those produced on UK soil.
Work collaboratively with farmers to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector.
Press for heavy UN penalties on “ecocide” damage to climate sensitive habitats internationally.
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