Ethan Shone 22nd March 2019
Grassroots Labour party members have today launched a campaign to persuade the party to adopt a Green New Deal, a set of policies and ideas aimed at radically transforming the economy around environmentalist principles, with hopes of turning Britain into a prosperous, zero-carbon society.
A Green New Deal would see significant investment in technology and infrastructure, leading to job creation on an unprecedented scale within burgeoning “green” industries. This means that the Green New Deal goes beyond just environmentalism, and is a much wider-reaching plan which aims to protect and futureproof the livelihoods of millions of people and reinvigorate economies in parts of Britain with rich industrial heritage that have lost out to globalisation in recent decades.
The group have not yet put together a comprehensive policy platform, as this will likely be decided cooperatively once the movement is well underway, but the cornerstones of the platform will be the creation of green jobs, a major expansion of public ownership and substantial investment in infrastructure.
Founded on the principle that climate change is inherently a class issue, with a small number of super-wealthy corporations and individuals causing most of the damage in the name of profits, while poorer communities suffer as a result. This reality is no better illustrated than with the well-known and eternally pertinent statistic that just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of emissions.
Labour for a Green New Deal will seek to build consensus around this platform from the ground up, by engaging with local Labour parties and trade unions, and holding events across the country to educate and engage people around the drastic need for radical action.
By lobbying Constituency Labour parties (CLPs) first, with a view to putting forward motions at Labour’s main part conference in September, Labour for a Green New Deal will hope to see the party proper committing to this policy platform in the very near future. At launch, they claim to have already attracted interest from members of more than 70 CLPs, and the movement has been welcomed by a number of high profile Labour MPs, including shadow secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, Rebecca Long Bailey.
The campaign takes inspiration from the Sunshine Movement and Alexandra Ocasio Cortez, the freshman Democratic Senator who has fast become one of the most recognisable figures in US politics, partly on the back of her support for a Green New Deal. Members of Labour for a Green New Deal have been in touch with senior figures involved in pushing the Green New Deal in the US.
Like our atmosphere itself, the battle for the future of our planet has hotted up significantly in recent times. A report released earlier this year which laid out the stark reality of climate change, and the timescale in which humanity must act collectively to avoid climate catastrophe, seems to have caused a marked uptick in environmental activism, from Extinction Rebellion to the recent school climate protests. Labour for a Green New Deal will seek to build on this appetite for change and sense of urgency, to bring about systemic and far-reaching change.
Clare Hymer, co-founder of Novara Media said: “Life after a GND could be a world of free healthcare and childcare, cheap and beautiful public housing, first-class public transport infrastructure, well-funded arts programmes and ample leisure time.”
If you too are wracked with existential angst about the looming climate crisis, it might be time to get active. Members of the public are encouraged to join the campaign.
Ethan Shone 22nd March 2019