The Green New Deal policy passed by the Labour conference at Brighton last week was among the most far-reaching attempts by any big political party to face up to the climate and ecological emergency.
The conference urged a future Labour government to “work towards a path to net zero carbon emissions by 2030”, guaranteeing “an increase in good unionised jobs” and ensuring that the cost is “borne by the wealthiest, not the majority”.
It also called for “public ownership of energy, creating an integrated, democratic system”, including “public ownership of the Big Six [electricity generating companies]”.
The resolution (text here) was passed on 24 September by an overwhelming majority, with support from trade unions including Unite and Unison.
A separate resolution supported by the GMB union and urging decarbonisation as fast as possible –
but without the 2030 target – was also passed. That amounts to a “challenge to the Labour party and its grassroots activists to come up with a concrete plan to meet the 2030 target”, the journalist Ellie Mae O’Hagan argued.
More than 128 Constituency Labour Parties sent in motions on the Green New Deal – more than on any other topic – after a whirlwind campaign by Labour For A Green New Deal (LGND).
This is an important shift, forced by the upsurge of radical climate protest. No coincidence that it came straight after the school students’ global “climate strike” on 20 September.
The aims of these resolutions will not be achieved without conflict – not only with energy companies, but also with senior Labour politicians and union bosses who talk green but support carbon-heavy policies.
The Labour leadership’s existing energy policy was crafted in part to avoid conflict with these powerful interests. In the electricity sector, it is committed to nationalise networks, but not generation (i.e. Read the rest of this entry »