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The Green New Deal is a wide-ranging programme designed to decarbonise the economy by 2030, in a way that will create jobs, raise tax returns, create a sustainable economy, and reduce the impact of climate chaos.
You may have heard about the Green New Deal (GND) when the Democratic Party and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez started pushing it last year. But the GND was actually first proposed 10 years earlier, with the Green Party and Caroline Lucas MP leading calls for it in the UK in the wake of the financial crisis, as a way of rescuing the economy and decarbonising our economy.
Sadly both Labour and the Conservatives ignored the opportunity for a decade, delaying much-needed action in tackling the climate emergency. Rumour has it that the Democrats’ Bernie Sanders discovered the Green New Deal because of his brother, Larry, a Green Party politician!
More recently, The GND gained traction in the UK following a grassroots group within Labour pushing their party to adopt a policy of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 which was agreed at Labour’s autumn conference last year.
While the Labour vision of a Green New Deal lacks depth when compared to the Green Party version, there is much to be optimistic about this move. But it’s hard to be confident in whether Labour will deliver on these plans while they still back airport expansion and other ideas that are incompatible with tackling climate change.
What does a Green New Deal look like under the Green Party?
Green New Deal for Energy:
- Doubling capacity of Electricity Grid
- Expanding renewables, with wind alone generating 70% of UK electricity
- Carbon Tax on Fossil Fuel extraction and imports
Green New Deal for Buildings:
- Deep retrofit of 1 million homes a year (to reach EPC standard A or better)
- Building 100,000 socially rented council homes a year, to Passivhaus energy standard
Green New Deal for Industry:
- Major investment in decarbonising industry
- Support for the private sector to kick-start further investment in decarbonisation
- Major investment in skills and training to unlock new jobs
- Carbon Tax on all processes that use fossil fuels
- Creating a ‘Right to Repair’ – so that manufactured goods last longer
Green New Deal for Transport:
- Upgrading rail capacity, including electrification
- Upgrading cycleways and footpaths
- Giving all local authorities control over bus services
- Apply a Carbon Tax to petrol, diesel, aviation and shipping fuel
- Banning all airport expansion and new road capacity
Green New Deal for Farming and Forestry:
- Plant 700 million new trees
- New subsidies for sustainable, diverse and environmentally friendly forms of farming, including organic farming, agroforestry and mixed farming.
- Encourage reduction in dairy and meat consumption
It’s clear that the Green Party vision of a Green New Deal has been thought about for a long time, would be far more effective in delivering a sustainable economy that works for all and is proposed by a party that would stick to its word in delivering what it promises.