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Wed, 30 September 2020

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Labour to back plan to hit net zero emissions by 2030 despite union objections

Labour to back plan to hit net zero emissions by 2030 despite union objections
2 min read

Labour are set to agree to commit to hitting zero carbon emissions by 2030 – despite one of its biggest union backers trying to water the plan down.

Shadow Energy Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said she would be backing a motion at party conference tabled by campaigners for a ‘Green New Deal’.

The motion calls on Labour to commit to net zero emissions by 2030, putting a firm date on the party's carbon plans for the first time.

It will be going up against a similar motion pushed by the GMB union, which does not put a deadline for the Government to achieve that target.

Ms Long-Bailey said the proposition from Labour for a Green New Deal - which will go to a vote of members on Thursday - was “fantastic”.

She told a fringe event at the Brighton conference that she understood the position of GMB, which represents many workers in the energy sector, and was worried that a shorter timeframe could jeopardise its members' jobs.

“But I think getting there as quickly as we can by 2030..provided we've got a credible plan to back it up, and provided that social justice is at its very heart to protect workers and ensure that it's a just transition,” the shadow cabinet minister added.

She had previously backed a “green industrial revolution”, where billions of pounds would be pumped into the renewable sector, but the green new deal motion would goes much further.

Despite wrangles over formulating a new position on Brexit dominating proceedings in Brighton, more motions were submitted by local parties on climate change than any other subject.

They had to go through the process known as “compositing” to come up with a single motion to be voted on, with insiders saying it was possibly the longest-ever session in conference history.

But the party's conference arrangements committee was unable to agree on the wording after objections from union officials, leading to the publication of the two competing statements.

The Conservatives have promised to hit net zero by 2050, but Labour for a Green New Deal say the 2030 target would “give Labour one of the most radical climate policies in the global north’.

Lauren Townsend, a trade unionist and spokesperson for the group, said: “On Tuesday, delegates will have a historic opportunity to pass a radical Green New Deal, with a 2030 decarbonisation target, harness the energy of the global climate strike and make Labour the party of climate.

“We hope they take it.”

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