Green New Deal

I note that the green new deal campaign seeks to expand the public sector to create unionised green jobs in sectors including green tech, manufacturing, care, education, climate adaptation, transport and housing. I note that the Opposition previously suggested nationalising various sectors and industries, including energy, water, Royal Mail and rail companies. This was estimated to cost £196 billion.

I strongly feel that government investment is best used helping support the private sector which, in turn, creates jobs and drives further private investment. For example, the Ten Point Plan will mobilise £12 billion of government investment and potentially three times as much from the private sector, to create and support up to 250,000 green jobs. This investment will drive innovation and lead to significant improvements in green technology which may benefit housing, transport, education, care and manufacturing.

The EDM also encourages re-training and support for those who work in fossil fuel heavy industries. I am encouraged that the North Sea Transition Deal will be a key component in ensuring the oil and gas sector work with the Government over the long-term to deliver the skills, innovation and new infrastructure required to decarbonise North Sea production, as well as other carbon intensive industries.

I note that the campaign also seeks to set legally binding targets. However, the UK has already set ambitious interim targets, including a 68 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, and a 78 per cent reduction in emissions by 2035, also compared to 1990 levels. These targets commit build on the Ten Point Plan and put the UK firmly on the path to net zero by 2050, leading the way in tackling climate change globally. Furthermore, the Government also amended the Environment Act 2021 to include a new, historic, legally binding target on species abundance for 2030 to halt the decline of nature, and to address the unacceptable amount of sewage discharged by water companies into our rivers.

The Green Jobs Taskforce was established to help the Government better understand how the UK could grasp opportunities of the Green Industrial Revolution. The findings and recommendations from the taskforce have helped develop and inform the Net Zero Strategy. In the strategy, the Government announced its ambition to support up to 440,000 jobs across net zero industries in 2030, contributing towards a broader pivot to a greener economy which could support 2 million jobs in green sectors or by greening existing sectors. I am encouraged that the Government will work with business to grow green industries, supply chains and skills in the UK, and ensure resilience to international changes in supply chains. 

Finally, I was strongly encouraged by the progress and agreements achieved at COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021. The Glasgow Climate Pact calls on countries to accelerate efforts towards the phase down of unabated coal power and phase out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, while providing targeted support to the poorest and most vulnerable in line with national circumstances and recognising the need for support towards a just transition. 

I hope this reassures you that the Government is continuing to reduce emissions and tackle climate change as we work towards net zero.