17 November 2020
Ahead of the expected publication of the government’s long promised ten point plan on the environment, the Green Party sets out five tests for Boris Johnson to meet if the plans are to be welcomed as a serious response to the climate emergency.
Green Party co leader Jonathan Bartley said: “The promise of this ten-point plan represents an important change of emphasis by the government, but years of delay and blocking action means the government is still not on course to meet even its inadequate commitments. We are looking to the Prime Minister to demonstrate that he has grasped the urgency of tackling the climate emergency.
“Boris Johnson can’t just say a few warm words on climate to earn himself a cuddly new image after his year of chaos. Over the last nine months we have seen what failure to prepare in the face of an emergency means for the people of the UK and this cannot be allowed to happen when it comes to tackling the climate crisis also.
“That is why, today, I am setting out five principles to follow to make this ten point plan worth the paper it’s printed on.”
The Green Party’s five tests are as follows:
Transform the whole economy
Too often, climate policies from government focus almost exclusively on energy. We need a fundamental reset of the whole economy, decarbonising every sector, ditching high carbon infrastructure projects such as road building and investing instead in projects including nature conservation public transport and walking and cycling infrastructure. The ten point plan must set out how we go net zero across every single sector, including housing, transport and agriculture, without simply relying on the development of new technologies that do not yet exist.
Only provide subsidies for new and emerging clean energy technologies
Subsidising and extracting fossil fuels across the United Kingdom pours petrol on the fire of the climate emergency. The ten point plan must involve a clear transition towards leaving all fossil fuels in the ground and disentangling all of our institutions from oil, gas and coal. Subsidies should solely be used to develop new clean energy, rather than dirty and dangerous sources, including new nuclear, which need to be phased out. The application of such a test would be likely to result in 100% renewable energy.
UK must carry its own net-zero burden
The UK must reach net-zero by its own effort, not by offloading the heavy lifting onto other countries. This means no purchasing of carbon offsets from countries that have made better progress on renewable energy or relying on imported dirty electricity. With our incredible renewable resources we should aim to be an exporter of clean energy.
Prosperity for all
We can’t take action on climate without lifting everybody up. The ten point plan must have a comprehensive Green New Deal and a credible strategy for winding down polluting, outdated sectors, protecting all livelihoods with a basic income and creating millions of good, well-paid Green jobs.
Prioritise the local
Across the world, leadership on moving to net zero has come from local authorities and regional governments. The changes that we need to see must be rapid and have to come from the bottom up. In the UK we have seen this with local authority climate emergency plans. We need government to share the power to tackle climate change with local government and to provide the money and resources for them to take action to deliver on those plans.