Barry Gardiner signals that Labour manifesto will water down zero carbon pledge

Posted On: 
18th November 2019

Labour's election manifesto will water down its commitment to reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2030, Barry Gardiner has signalled.

Barry Gardiner signalled Labour will not commit to net-zero emissions by 2030
Credit: 
PA

The Shadow International Trade Secretary would only commit to hitting the target "well before 2050".

That is despite Labour's annual conference - the party's supreme policy-making forum - passing a motion in September saying it would be done by 2030.

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His comments came ahead of Jeremy Corbyn’s speech to CBI’s annual conference is which he was due to claim the election is "our last chance" to prevent catastrophic climate change.

Mr Gardiner told the Today programme: "The target that we’ve already committed to is to make sure that we have a net-zero economy well before 2050.

"What we’ve said is that we’ll be making sure that the power sector – and this was the key thing that intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) said – that you have to have halved your emissions by 2030 in order to have a chance of achieving the targets, the global targets, that we need."

He added: “What we will be doing is have our power sector 90% powered by renewables by 2030. That is absolutely in line with achieving the overall targets that we have set which is to make sure that well before 2050 we have achieved the net-zero which we need to do.”

His comments were immediately condemned on Twitter by former Green Party’ leader Caroline Lucas.

She said: "Sadly sounds like Labour backing away from 2030 target for zero carbon emissions.  

"Barry Gardiner on says aim is "net zero well before 2050".

"That’s simply not ambitious enough. Only has right targets & right policies to reach them ."

The GMB, one of Labour's trade union backers, has spoken out against the 2030 target, arguing that it would consign thousands of their members to the dole queue.

Labour agreed the contents of its manifesto on Saturday and it will be unveiled in Birmingham on Thursday morning.

A Labour spokesperson said: "Labour will announce its climate policies to tackle the climate and environment emergency in its manifesto this Thursday. Labour will have the most credible and ambitious target of all political parties."