Labour has committed to the decarbonisation of the UK energy mix, has pledged to lead increased global climate change ambition, and will improve energy efficiency in it’s Green Plan.

With the plan Labour intends to separate itself from the pack of political parties whose election manifestos contained few mentions of climate change or green policy. The release was also timed to coincide with the anniversary of Cameron’s ‘hug a husky’ event nine years ago.

The Conservative leader has already been lambasted by Ecotricity owner Dale Vince in a viral video today highlighting what it sees as a u-turn on environmental policy by supposedly the ‘greenest Government ever’.

‘Portfolio of Low Carbon Options’

One area Labour is keen to differentiate itself on is a decarbonisation target for 2030 for the UK’s electricity supply, giving business ‘certainty to invest’ in green technology and infrastructure, it says.

It is quick to point out that conversely both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrat parties have blocked such a target in the last Parliament, and the Conservative manifesto explicitly rules one out for the next.

Labour says its decarbonisation target will allow for a ‘portfolio of options’ of new low-carbon generation to develop, giving ‘maximum flexibility to reduce emissions in the most cost-effective way possible for consumers’.

Investment and Support

The Green Investment Bank will aid investment in these technologies by being given borrowing powers as soon into the next parliament as possible.

Labour has outlined the future low carbon energy mix it believes is needed, which will include renewables, nuclear, green gas, carbon capture and storage and clean coal.

Unlike the Conservatives, Labour has pledged to continue supporting onshore wind, saying it has a ‘vital role’ to play in our energy mix. It will also work with the solar industry to provide the stable environment needed for large-scale solar to continue to thrive.

Champion Climate Change

The party has also promised to ‘champion’ increased climate ambition in Paris, working for a global, legally-binding ambitious agreement, with targets re-assessed every five years to maintain progress towards the goal of limiting climate change to two degrees. It has also set a goal of net zero global emissions in the second half of this century.

Energy Efficiency

Labour has promised to rejuvenate ‘stalled’ progress on improving energy efficiency by committing to upgrade at least five million homes over ten years and establish energy efficiency as a national infrastructure priority.

It will provide half a million personalised home energy reports a year, detailing how households could save money on their energy bills through energy efficiency. It will also offer free energy efficiency improvements to at least 200,000 households in or at risk of fuel poverty a year.

Other pledges including in the plan:

– Create an Energy Security Board
– New powers to the North Sea regulator to explore new ways to support carbon capture and storage 
– Bring forward investment through Contracts for Difference for new carbon capture and storage projects 
– Develop a 25 year plan for the recovery of nature with clear five year milestones to measure progress
– Tackle air pollution by devolving power and supporting local authorities to take action
– Ensure a robust environmental and regulatory regime for the extraction of shale gas before it can take place 

Aspire to Safeguard the Environment

“Building a more equal society means tackling climate change and protecting nature. The aims we have championed throughout our history.” Labour’s shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Caroline Flint said. 

“The last Labour Government was the first in the world to put carbon reduction targets into law, spurring investment and creating markets for thousands of British companies.”

“The next Labour Government will commit Britain to decarbonising our electricity supply by 2030 to give business certainty to invest so we can create a million green jobs over the next decade and invest in green technology and green infrastructure to power Britain’s economy forward into the future.”

Labour’s shadow Environment Secretary Maria Eagle said: “Every radical, reforming Labour Government has extended public access to nature and safeguarded our environment for future generations to cherish and enjoy. With this plan, we aspire to do the same.”

Friends of the Earth’s head of politics Liz Hutchins commented on the plan, saying: “Labour’s green vision contains a number of encouraging policies. But Labour’s support for fracking is still wrong. The party should stop trying to balance support for fossil fuels and renewables and recognise that a transition away from dirty energy is what’s urgently required.”

Lucinda Dann

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie