Labour’s call a world first – and comes with a Green Industrial Revolution promise
Labour is to force a vote to make the UK Parliament the first in the world to declare a climate emergency.
The party plans to force a vote in the Commons this week to declare a climate and environmental emergency, making the UK Parliament the first in the world to do so.
Labour will use an opposition motion on Wednesday to push Parliament to act with urgency to avoid more than 1.5°C of warming, which requires global emissions to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ before 2050.
Last year, UK carbon dioxide emissions fell by only 2% – a rate that means that the UK would not reach levels compatible with net zero before 2100, far too late to avoid dangerous climate change.
Rebecca Long Bailey, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, decried this slow rate of change saying “winning slowly on climate change is the same as losing”.
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn called the recent unprecedented wave of climate activism “a massive and necessary wake up call” for “rapid and dramatic action, which only concerted government action and a Green Industrial Revolution can deliver.”
Corbyn said that Labour hopes that if Parliament declares a climate emergency it “will trigger a wave of action from parliaments and governments around the world.”
Labour’s demands reflect the findings of the world’s leading scientific body on climate change, the IPCC, that to avoid dangerous climate change the world will need to take “rapid and far reaching” action to decarbonise. It comes after weeks in which striking school children, ‘Extinction Rebellion’ protestors and David Attenborough have rocketed climate change up the national agenda.
Labour’s move has been praised by climate activists.
Labour is also developing plans to capture the economic opportunities of the low carbon economy for the many not the few through a ‘Green Industrial Revolution‘ providing high-skilled, secure and well-paid jobs in every region and nation of our country, especially our former industrial towns.
Research commissioned by twenty governments has found that without action on climate change tens of millions of people will die by 2030, with more than 90% of those deaths occurring in the global South.
Beyond climate change, the UK is undergoing an alarming trend in species decline and is currently missing almost all of its biodiversity targets, with cuts of almost 50% to Natural England undermining efforts to protect wildlife, air and water quality.
Labour’s motion will call for further action to meet the challenge of the emergency including setting targets for and supporting the mass roll-out of renewable and low carbon energy and transport, properly funding environmental protection, reversing the alarming trend in species decline and developing plans to move towards a zero waste economy.
The motion follows Shadow Environment Secretary Sue Hayman’s declaration of an environment and climate emergency on behalf of the Labour Party on 28 March.
Jeremy Corbyn said:
The inspiring climate activism we’ve seen in recent weeks must serve as a massive and necessary wake up call for rapid and dramatic action. Only concerted government intervention through a Green Industrial Revolution can deliver this scale of change.
We can and we will harness the power of new technologies for social and environmental justice.
For young people, the climate emergency is the cause of their generation. And we in older generations must face up to this seriously. We have to have a much more focused and serious approach towards climate change and the damage we’re doing to our planet. We want a world for those in countries worst affected by and least to blame for climate change and our young people.
On Wednesday, the UK Parliament will have the chance to be the first in the world to declare an environment and climate emergency, which we hope will trigger a wave of action from parliaments and governments around the world.
Rebecca Long Bailey, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said:
Winning slowly on climate change is the same as losing – and the UK has been moving far too slowly in recent years, reducing its emissions by just 2% last year.
That is why government must be put on an emergency footing to mobilise the resources needed to tackle climate change at an adequate pace and scale.
Labour is committed to tackling the environment and climate emergency by ushering in a Green Industrial Revolution that will create hundreds of thousands of jobs and transform whole regions of the UK held back for decades.
Shadow Environment Secretary Sue Hayman said:
The Committee on Climate Change has said that the government is not preparing for climate change across a series of key areas including habitats, fires, floods and heatwaves. This failure puts our population at risk and undermines British infrastructure and security.
British wildlife is in freefall after nine years of cuts. Protecting and expanding the UK’s natural habitats is a core part of Labour’s plans to kickstart a Green Industrial Revolution.
Barry Gardiner, Shadow Minister for International Climate Change, added:
Climate change is fundamentally an issue of justice. The poorest people in the world have done the least to cause climate change, but it is those same people who will bear the brunt of its horrific impacts on their lives and livelihoods.
As an internationalist party we are proud to take the lead in tackling what is the most profound justice issue faced by the world today.
We are facing a climate emergency; it must be declared and it must be acted upon now.
Climate activists welcomed the announcement. Greta Thunberg said:
It is very hopeful that a major European political party has woken up to propose a declaration of a national climate emergency.
It is a great first step because it sends a clear signal that we are in a crisis and that the ongoing climate and ecological crises must be our first priority. We can not solve an emergency without treating it like an emergency.
I hope that the other UK political parties join in and together pass this motion in Parliament – and that political parties in other countries will follow their example.
16-year-old climate striker George Bond, from Devon said:
The recognition of the urgency of climate breakdown is a necessary first step in addressing this crisis at the scale that we must to prevent irreversible breakdown. Empty claims about the UK’s competence at emissions reductions must be stopped. This declaration must be followed by a mobilisation only previously seen in times of conflict involving deep cross party collaboration. It must deliver and create jobs at the same time as undertaking the necessary measures to address the climate crisis while establishing desperately needed equity in the UK as part of a just transition away from fossil fuels.
All sectors of the UK economy must be rapidly decarbonised if the young people of this country are to have any hope of a liveable future.
Labour will commit:
- the UK to achieve net zero emissions before 2050.
- at least 60% of energy (electricity and heat) to come from low-carbon or renewable sources within twelve years of coming to power. This means 85-90% of electricity from low carbon sources.
- to create of 400,000 well-paid, unionised jobs through retrofitting houses, and building the UK’s wind and solar power. Many more jobs will be created in other green sectors.
- to a mass home insulation programme going street to street, with a zero carbon home standard for new-build homes.
On May 11 in Scarborough, Rebecca Long Bailey will launch a national call for evidence to build a detailed green job creation plan as part of Labour’s community organising unit’s programme of mobilising, training and developing Green Industrial Revolution leaders all over the country.
The highly respected House of Commons Library could not find any examples of national or parliamentary declarations of a climate emergency.
The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here for a monthly donation via GoCardless. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.
If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.