Labour commits to 2050 net-zero emissions target, Corbyn vows green jobs ‘revolution’
Labour has committed itself to a net-zero target of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050, as Jeremy Corbyn vows to "kickstart a green jobs revolution" in the UK.
The Opposition Leader will pledge to create 400,000 green jobs and put the UK “back on track” to achieve its emissions targets at Labour’s annual conference in Liverpool today (26 September).
The proposals will “make Britain the only developed country outside Scandinavia to be on track to meet our climate change obligations,” Corbyn is expected to say.
And they will bring “skills and security to communities held back for too long”, in all parts of the UK.
In a bold speech on Britain’s low-carbon future, Corbyn will say that a Labour Government will provide subsides for offshore and onshore wind, and reverse Government cuts to solar power subsidies.
The Party will set aside £12.8bn for subsidies to insulate homes in the Party’s first term, which Labour says will create 160,000 new jobs alone.
Businesses will be encouraged to invest in onshore wind through changes to planning guidance – and landlords will be forced to invest in retrofitting older properties.
And Corbyn will spell out plans for a major growth in domestic energy efficiency funding that would create 160,000 jobs for energy assessors, engineers, technicians.
Greenpeace said Corbyn’s plans showed “real leadership”, saying the party was taking the issue “as seriously as is needed to have any real prospect of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change here and around the world”.
Corbyn’s speech comes a day after Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey announced the Party’s goal to achieve net-zero emissions for the UK by the mid-century.
Speaking at the Labour conference yesterday, Ms Long-Bailey insisted that the UK must do better than the UK’s current 2050 goal to reduce emissions by 80%.
Labour has set out guidelines to meet its target to generate 60% of energy from renewables and low-carbon sources by 2030, following a report by energy experts consulted by the Party found that the goal is feasible within 12 years while maintaining energy security and keeping the lights on.
Recommendations include providing 85% of electricity demand from renewable and low-carbon sources, and 44% of heating demand from renewables. Labour also plans to oversee a seven-fold increase in offshore wind, a doubling of onshore wind, and almost a tripling of solar power.
Ms Long-Bailey said: “The Tories are not up to the job of dealing with the existential threat posed by climate change. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) says the Government is ‘off-track’ on tackling this issue and they’re on course to miss carbon reduction targets.”
The announcement comes after more than 100 MPs signed a letter calling on the Prime Minister to establish a net-zero emissions target for 2050.
Labour’s pledge “lays down a challenge to this and future Governments”, Ms Long-Bailey said.
Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU)’s director Richard Black welcomed the target: “Labour’s announcement is very much in line with the latest science, which shows that carbon emissions need to fall to net-zero around mid-century in order to stand a decent chance of meeting the Paris Agreement target,” he said.
“With the Conservative government also committed to net zero and more than 130 MPs signing a cross-party letter calling for a target date before 2050, the backing across Parliament for UK action in line with the science seems as strong as it was a decade ago when it brought the Climate Change Act into existence.”
Labour’s environment policy
On the eve of Labour’s conference, the Party unveiled a brand new environmental policy document which builds on last year’s election manifesto. Delivering on its commitments would see the next Labour Government be “by far the greenest ever”, the text claims.
In the document, Labour rejects the notion that market mechanisms alone can build a sustainable economy. It claims rather that Government interventions are necessary to “bring about the structural changes needed to address drivers of environmental degradation”.
The document reiterates support for the Swansea Tidal Lagoon, opposition to fracking, and a promise to support decentralised energy by bringing the UK’s energy transmission and distribution networks back into public ownership.
In the area of energy efficiency, there are pledges to instate a new zero-carbon homes standard “as soon as possible” and ensure all council and housing associations reach EPC band C.
At a time of heightened concerned for green regulations Post-Brexit, Labour pledges to “negotiate a future relationship with the EU that maintains and extends all environmental rights, standards and protections as a baseline, while introducing more ambitious domestic environmental policy than that guaranteed at the European level.”
The document also proposes to develop a strategy to ensure the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are implemented across Government.
It notes that a Labour Government would mandate the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) to model for the potential long-term impacts on the economy of climate change. To help put the economy on a sustainable footing, Labour pledges to deliver a National Transformation Fund that will invest £250bn over 10 years.
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