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Look, No Huskies! Labour's Manifesto For Our Climate

06/06/2017 08:37
Dan Kitwood via Getty Images

The most important thing to understand about Trump's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Change agreement is, whilst it undeniably damages the rest of the world, it does most damage to America itself.

Just after Trump was elected, but before his inauguration, I met up with Jonathan Pershing the US Special Climate Envoy under Obama. I sympathised with him about the president elect's stated policy to take the US out of the Paris agreement. But Pershing was calm, focused and surprisingly un-phased. "It's gone way beyond the federal programme" he told me. "It's business and cities and States that are leading the way in the US now."

What Pershing made clear was that far from protecting American jobs, Trump would be preventing American workers from being at the forefront of the next great industrial revolution. In fact many Coal States actually already have more jobs bound up with renewables than in coal itself.

Climate change must be approached as an opportunity to transition our economy to a zero carbon future. Business understands this even when governments don't.

This is what makes Labour's climate offer so compelling. We have integrated our climate policy with our entire Industrial Strategy, with our National Infrastructure Programme, with our plan for carbon neutral homes and electric vehicles, and with our national & regional investment banks.
We recognise the need for government to provide a clear and stable regulatory framework so as to release the investment power of business in order to deliver progressive public policy.

We recognise the link between environmental failure and social injustice. When the energy sector is privatised and deregulated, it not only tends to pollute more, it also charges the poorest more per unit!

If we fail to invest in insulation, people on low incomes have to choose between heat and food. That's why our manifesto rejects Conservative plans - to take away the winter fuel allowance and by contrast promise to insulate for free the homes of our ex-servicemen through our Homes for Heroes program. It is also why we will promote regional energy companies and grids to deliver cheap clean energy for local people.

Unlike the Tories - who are allowing fracking under our National Parks! - we will ban fracking altogether. Our ban will protect swathes of the country from drilling practices which have caused devastation to water supplies and wildlife in the US. And it will not lock us into a fossil fuel infrastructure long after we need to have transitioned to renewables.

Under Labour, at least 60% of the UK's energy will come from zero carbon or renewable sources by 2030, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process and making Britain greener and fairer. Our local energy generation initiatives, will put power back into the hands of communities, funded by a new national investment bank.

A Labour government, if elected next week, would actually BE the greenest government ever. No huskies! No sound bites! Just straightforward sensible policies.

Barry Gardiner is the Labour candidate for Brent North and Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade and Shadow Minister for International Climate Change

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