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Left Foot Forward: Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay: We’re going to take back the Green New Deal from Labour

Read the article on Left Foot Forward


‘Environmental policies aren’t ‘for the planet’ – the planet will be fine. It’s us, the people living on it, that these policies are for.’

In 2008 a team of economists and environmentalists published “A Green New Deal”. It was a wholescale plan to tackle climate change, create jobs and build a fairer society. Amongst the co-authors was a certain leading Green Party figure – Caroline Lucas.

At the 2010 General Election only the Green Party were putting a Green New Deal on the agenda. As then leaders of the Greens, Adrian Ramsay and Caroline Lucas travelled the country pitching a vision for a society with green jobs, well insulated homes, clean renewable energy, excellent public transport, sustainable food and fair taxes.

Today, like all good ideas, the Green New Deal has spawned a wide array of plans and pledges. Most famous being Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s drive to see real action on the climate emergency in the USA. Countless Trade Unions have adopted the drive for new green jobs and a just transition. And at the last General Election, here in the UK, both Labour and the Green Party ran on a platform of delivering a Green New Deal.

We’re running for Green Party co-leaders because we all need this plan to be delivered. We can’t afford to wait another decade. This country urgently needs new well paid jobs, and to build a green recovery after Covid. Sadly, it seems increasingly clear that Labour under Keir Starmer lacks the commitment or zeal for a Green revolution.

We’re running for Green Party co-leaders to take back the Green New Deal from Labour.

At the last General Election both parties ran on environmental pledges that were well received. Whilst Greenpeace rated the Green Party’s plan ahead of LabourFriends of the Earth actually rated Labour ahead, although there were controversies about the process that led them to this decision.

Under Keir Starmer it’s increasingly clear that there is little chance of this happening again.

Labour has made their growing ambivalence on the climate emergency clear. In Bristol and Leeds, Labour administrations have backed airport expansion. Sadiq Khan in London is constructing the polluting Silvertown road tunnel. Labour councils have failed to deliver on pledges to act on the climate emergency and are even ripping out much needed cycle lanes and low traffic neighbourhoods. Welsh Labour, a party in government, has failed to commit to net zero carbon by 2030.

None of these actions portray the Labour Party as serious about climate. Climate campaigners have had to plead with Keir to recommit to zero carbon by 2030, which despite promises remains under “ongoing review”. A Green New Deal and the opportunity to deliver a much needed recovery have not been a Labour headline.

This isn’t good enough. Environmental policies aren’t ‘for the planet’ – the planet will be fine. It’s us, the people living on it, that these policies are for. Particularly those on the lowest incomes, in the poorest quality housing and without the savings with which to buffer themselves from environmental and economic crises who will suffer the most.  

The dire warnings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the disastrous scenes of fire and flood should spur action. So should the very many Brits currently unemployed or underemployed, looking for work. We can solve two crises at once, the climate crisis and the jobs crisis.

That will be a huge part of the Green platform at the next election. A clear understanding that environmental and social justice go hand in hand. That levelling up left-behind towns and villages can only be achieved with a Green New Deal, which Boris Johnson is disinterested in delivering.

It’s clear to us that only a successful Green Party with the right leadership team can lead the charge to make this happen. And the thousands of new members joining our movement seem to agree.

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