The Labour Party’s priorities for averting the worst effects of climate breakdown reflect our origins as the political arm of the organised labour movement and the abiding concern for social justice that arises from this historic commitment.
- Renewables. We must shift away from the use of fossil fuels in domestic power generation, which constitute around 78% of all carbon emissions, and move towards renewable energy – chiefly wind, wave, and solar – in order to harness the power of the planet that sustains us. Equally, new technologies and techniques in fossil fuel extraction must be resisted. The Labour Party has committed to ban fracking.
- Green jobs. We must engineer an expansion not only of explicitly green carbon negative jobs in areas such as renewable energy, retrofitting homes and vehicles to make them more energy efficient and productive land management (i.e. local food production and rewilding) but in carbon neutral jobs like caring, nursing and teaching, which must be esteemed and remunerated as the apogee of human activity. Labour’s National Education Service is designed to enable retraining and redeployment as requirements change.
- Public transport. Successive governments have bowed to the profit motive of the market, which under the guiding hand of fossil fuel companies has failed to sustain the integrated public transport networks necessary to get people out of their cars. This is most starkly apparent in rural communities, where provision of public transport is abysmal. We must decrease demand for private transport by restoring bus routes and bringing rail franchises back into public ownership, thereby improving service quality, in tandem with deep decarbonisation of existing modes of transport by using alternative fuel sources.
- Public ownership. Privatisation, value extraction and profit maximisation are the economic habits which have fomented the crisis we face. There is little incentive or capacity to invest in repairs and unprofitable but ecologically beneficial services when money can be made, and has to be made, in order to service debt acquired after privatisation. It is essential that public utilities be managed not in a way which maximises profits, but in a way which maximises the public good. Accordingly, the power and latitude to manage utilities must be rescued from the market and restored to the public.
- Reparations. The climate crisis is global. The UK along with other rich countries has the ability to do more than other countries in tackling climate change, and having contributed disproportionately to the stock of carbon in the atmosphere, therefore has both the responsibility to do more. We must share green technology and techniques with developing countries in a program of reparative measures to relieve the colonial effect of climate degradation.