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Mon, 15 April 2024

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By Earl Russell
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Green prosperity plan: Labour’s ambition for a green future

3 min read

With a general election due to take place within the next two years, Kerry McCarthy MP, Shadow Minister for Climate Change, puts forward Labour’s Green Prosperity Plan.

The transition to net-zero is an opportunity. An opportunity to lower bills, to provide long-term energy security, to deliver jobs and economic growth, and to tackle climate change. A failure to grasp this opportunity will not only be devastating for future generations, but will diminish Britain’s place in the world in the here-and-now too, as we fall behind in the global race for green investment. We’re already seeing jobs, money, and expertise heading overseas as the US and EU offer immediate incentives for investment.

Without a response to the Inflation Reduction Act – the landmark law passed by US President Joe Biden last year in an attempt to curb inflation whilst promoting green growth – UK businesses, big and small continue to miss out. Indeed, the US created almost 10 times more green jobs in the first seven months after the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act than the UK has created in the past seven years.

It is therefore bewildering that the only response so far from the Energy Security Secretary is to call the Act “dangerous” and to imply it is actually the US which is playing catch-up. This government has flip-flopped on issues like solar and fracking, is dithering on home insulation and maintains a de-facto ban on onshore wind. What message does this send to the British public? What message does it send to businesses looking to invest?

Instead of doubling down on fossil fuels, Labour would lead a sprint for renewables

Instead of doubling down on fossil fuels, Labour would lead a sprint for renewables – doubling our onshore wind capacity, tripling solar, and quadrupling offshore wind.

Central to this is our Green Prosperity Plan, investing from the first year we get into office to reach £28bn in the second half of the Parliament. This includes the establishment of a publicly owned energy company, GB Energy, and a National Wealth Fund to invest in the green technologies of the future. In doing so we can make Britain a clean energy superpower and hit our target of zero carbon electricity by 2030. 

Labour’s Green Prosperity Plan would support the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs for people of all regions, ages, genders, and socioeconomic groups. But it must be done in the right way, with a ‘just transition’ that addresses regional imbalances and ensures that no workers or communities are left behind. To do so, change must be justified and legitimised.

We need to ensure we do not repeat historical mistakes in sectors such as coal. This is an opportunity for a higher quality of work: for improved conditions, better regulation of employment practices, and greater diversity in the sector.

In every meeting I have with industry leaders and local businesses, the word certainty keeps cropping up. It is the responsibility of government to set out a clear roadmap for decarbonisation so businesses and individuals can plan ahead to play their part in the transition. This is the key driver of change.

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