Green Industrial Revolutions and Climate Emergency Bills: What's in Labour's manifesto?
The Labour party has today (21 November) launched its election manifesto, outlining how a Green New Deal, Green Industrial Revolution and a Climate Emergency Bill will put the UK on the cusp of a net-zero economy and drive economic growth through a green transition.
The 107-page manifesto focuses first on a “Green Industrial Revolution” before moving onto public services rebuilds, tackling poverty and a “final say” on Brexit that offers a people’s vote on a withdrawal bill alongside the option to remain.
“The Conservative Government is failing. It has failed on the economy, on the climate crisis, on investment for the future, on public services and on Brexit. It is simply not working for most people,” Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn stated in the manifesto foreword.
“We will launch the largest-scale investment programme in modern times to fund the jobs and industries of the future, so that no one is held back and no community left behind. This is a fully costed programme to upgrade our economy and transform our country. We will kick-start a Green Industrial Revolution to tackle the climate emergency by shifting to renewable energy, investing in rail and electric cars, and making housing energy efficient, to reduce fuel poverty and excess winter deaths.”
Labour has pledged to “kick-start a Green Industrial Revolution that will create one million jobs in the UK to transform our industry, energy, transport, agriculture and our buildings, while restoring nature”.
As reported, the manifesto does indeed ease away from a previous net-zero by 2030, instead aiming to achieve “the substantial majority of our emissions reductions by 2030”.
The manifesto commits to building 7,000 new offshore wind turbines, 2,000 onshore wind turbines and enough solar panels to cover 22,000 football pitches. Nuclear will also be provided for energy security.
Labour has also pledged to upgrade “almost all” of the UK’s 27 million homes to the highest energy efficiency standards, which the party claims will reduce household energy bills by £417 annually by 2030 while eliminating fuel poverty. Labour will also introduce a zero-carbon homes standard for all new homes.
Heat pumps, solar hot water, hydrogen and district heat networks using waste heat will be prioritised to finally make progress on decarbonising heat. Labour will also introduce a “windfall tax” on oil companies, to cover the costs of climate change and environmental damage.
Green Industrial Revolution
Under Labour’s plans: a new UK National Energy Agency will own and maintain the national grid infrastructure and oversee the delivery of decarbonisation targets; 14 new Regional Energy Agencies will replace the existing district network operators and hold statutory responsibility for decarbonising electricity and heat and reducing fuel poverty; and the supply arms of the Big Six energy companies will be brought into public ownership where they will continue to supply households with energy while helping them to reduce their energy demands.
If elected, Labour will instruct the Committee on Climate Change to assess the emissions the UK imports as well as those it produces, and recommend policies to tackle them.
The party will also invest in R&D for the steel and automotive industries, including three new steel recycling facilities, four metal processing plants and three new automotive gigafactories. Labour maintains that the end of sales of new diesel and petrol vehicles would be brought forward from 2040 to 2030.
Labour will also invest in a new plastics remanufacturing industry, “creating thousands of jobs, ending exports of plastic waste and reducing our contribution to ocean pollution”.
Climate Emergency Bill
Labour has also pledged to introduce a Climate and Environment Emergency Bill that sets out “robust, binding new standards for decarbonisation, nature recovery, environmental quality and habitats and species protection”. The manifesto confirms that EU standards for environmental regulation would be maintained and improved.
Other notable inclusions in the manifesto are a new Clean Air Act and an accompanying scrappage scheme for older vehicles, an extra £5.6bn in funding for flooding and an ambition to achieve net-zero-carbon food production in Britain by 2040.
Both the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats released their manifestos earlier this week, you can read the summaries here.
The Conservatives are believed to publish their manifesto this weekend.