Investing in renewable energy will create thousands of jobs – so why is the government doing the opposite?

Britain is failing miserably at meeting clean energy targets


Over the past week we’ve seen several major calls for action on climate change – from the Pope arguing that wealthy nations must move away from fossil fuels as an act of social justice, to the Lancet and University College London touting action on climate change as an enormous opportunity to improve public health.

Yet, as the calls come in from all quarters for divestment from fossil fuels, the British government is divesting from renewables.

Last Thursday the Conservatives announced that they will end subsidies for onshore wind energy – despite all the opportunities that it offers to generate sustainable, clean energy.

With Britain failing miserably to meet the EU target of 15 per cent of its energy coming from renewables – it is currently achieving a mere 5 per cent – such a move flies in the face of logic.

Not only will this mean Britain continues failing to do its bit to tackle climate change, it’s also doing a huge disservice to our workers and industries.

According to research from the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation and the Global Green Growth Institute, investing $1 million in renewable energy would create more jobs than the same amount invested in fossil fuels.

The message? Wind and solar power have the potential to provide decent, reliable work for those who have struggled to find a job amid government spending cuts and the economic crash caused by the greed and fraud of bankers.

The report looked at emerging economies, like Indonesia, South Africa and Brazil, and found that renewable investment here creates even more jobs than in countries like Germany and South Korea.

The Green Party understands that tackling climate change could help us to improve our world.

We want to see Britain aim for a zero carbon economy by 2050 to help us avoid dangerous levels of climate change. The only way we can achieve that target is through investing in measures that will make our society fairer, as well as greener.

Through a huge programme of home insulation, we can make Britain’s houses more comfortable to live in. We can create jobs, slash fuel poverty, and drastically reduce the amount of energy we need to produce.

By overhauling our transport system, we can transform the health and wellbeing of our society. By designing roads so that they prioritise pedestrians and cyclists, and making public transport comfortable, convenient and affordable, we can improve our air quality, reduce obesity and cut our carbon emissions.

And, as this week’s report proves, investing in renewable energy is a way to create thousands of jobs while reducing our impact on the planet.

The Green Party wants to see opportunities for communities to take ownership of energy generation and supply in their area, so that these jobs can go to local people in need of fulfilling employment.

What’s becoming clear to people around the world, from doctors to economists to religious leaders, is that moving towards a more sustainable society represents an exciting opportunity.

It’s time for our government to sit up and listen. Meeting our current targets is a positive step in the right direction, but if we really want to improve people’s lives and prevent dangerous climate change, our only option is to go further.

Andrew Cooper is the Green Party’s Energy spokesperson. Follow him on Twitter

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31 Responses to “Investing in renewable energy will create thousands of jobs – so why is the government doing the opposite?”

  1. stevep

    Renewable energy and clean technology is the only way forward. Anything else is utter madness.

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  3. FabianEugenics

    “Investing in renewable energy will create thousands of jobs – so why is the government doing the opposite?”

    Because it is expensive and unreliable and costs more jobs than it creates.

  4. DianneMB

    Because certain senior cabinet minster’s family and friends have shares.

  5. James Ogilvie

    Your source for this claim, please? The author has provided a source for his – I think it only fair you provide one if you wish anyone to take your statement as anything other than an empty assertion.

  6. Torybushhug


    Labours worst defeat in 30 years

    •The result was epic and emphatic

    •Outside of student cities, areas of high ethnic minorities
    and some cities, Labour were decimated

    •More Labour MP’s in Liverpool than in all of berks, Bucks,
    Sussex, Kent, Hants, Surrey, Oxfordshire

    •There is precious reason for optimism

    •A small majority in 2020 means winning Chingford, which has
    never returned a Labour MP

    •We had the wrong approach and wrong leader

    •We retreated to our comfort zone rather than for example
    finding ways to evolve the public sector

    •We left the mass of middle income voters out of the debate

    •We prioritised people renting not buying homes

    •We were pro worker, anti business

    •Voters took refuge with the Conservatives

    •We have only ourselves to blame

    •Voters would not be fooled – the public arguably went to
    the right on things like immigration, Europe and welfare

    •Labour lost Scotland, core English vote and to UKIP in
    Northern heartlands

    •The key to future victory is having a clear core purpose,
    great leaders always have a purpose

    •Voters are not sure what Labour is for

    •Across the developed world the right is in the ascendancy,
    the left has been wrong footed

    •Too many in Labour have turned their backs on Blair who
    gave them the dominant force in British politics over a decade and a halve

    •The rot began with Brown in 2007

    •50 years without a Labour victory aside from Blair

    •We must become comfortable with aspiration

    •Under Blair we were seen as intolerant of a failure to
    abide by societies rules


  7. stevep

    Oh dear, the Troll`s out of his cave again. Go back! Shoo!
    We`re discussing progressive policies here, not failed right-wing doctrines that benefit a wealthy elite.

  8. Torybushhug

    Alan Milburns words, not mine, see the video on the Spectator site.
    As to me sounding teenage, I shared you quaint narrative when I was a starry eyed teen, but then learned to decipher the bigger more subtle picture.

  9. TN

    No, it’s about how the left isn’t willing to listen to parts of the electorate they’ve managed to patronise for years.

  10. stevep

    There`s nothing quaint or subtle about the right-wing agenda, only increasing wealth, power and privilege for the elite and poverty and slavery for the rest of us.
    I`m sorry that you succumbed to far-right propaganda in your early years, you`re not alone, lots of Labour politicians fell for it too. But we`re here to help.
    I too believe in aspiration. I aspire to a political regime that delivers fairness, decency, a good standard of living and true democracy to it`s citizens.
    It isn`t Capitalism and free-market economics, that`s for sure.

  11. stevep

    No, it`s not about the left patronising the electorate, it`s about the far-right propagandising the electorate.

  12. Foxytrader

    Does the regime you aspire to exist anywhere in the world currently? Whose model should we look to emulate?

  13. stevep

    That`s why this forum exists, to give voice to those who would create a better world.
    We can start by looking at progressive regimes worldwide, taking note of what works for the majority of their citizens and rejecting what doesn`t.
    If Democracy is a key requirement for such a state, then let`s have proper representation of the people, at all levels: in the neighbourhood, town, city, region, in the workplace etc.
    We can also start by having a proper debate about the profit motive, accumulation of wealth, accumulation of power, education, labour etc.
    It will be interesting and hopefully, enlightening.

  14. Foxytrader

    Undoubtedly but “progressive” is a heavily loaded word. Which particular regimes have the features you would be looking to mirror?

  15. Cole

    Hardly anyone in Labour takes Milburn seriously any more. He’s pretty much become a Tory.

  16. FabianEugenics

    You need a source to tell you the wind blows intermittently? That says everything about the left.

  17. James Ogilvie

    You attempt to deflect a request for evidence for your claim with a facetious comment? That says everything about the right…

  18. James Ogilvie

    No, I want you to stop fixating on one of half a dozen types of renewables and attempting to frame the conversation within those confines – and answer my original request for evidence of your original assertion.

  19. James Ogilvie

    Actually, don’t bother – I’m done troll feeding for the day.

  20. FabianEugenics

    I just have.

    We’re spending billions on wind and solar which cost more money, and cost jobs.

    More lefty fantasy economics, ironically enriching landowners, no wonder the people don’t trust you.

  21. FabianEugenics

    Always best to runaway when you’re losing.

  22. Keith Gibson

    You don’t know anything about the science and engineering of wind power do you? fucking idiot, there’s hundreds of thousands of wind turbines around the world and they work and they are cost effective – otherwise they wouldn’t exist.

  23. gunnerbear

    And they all have to be ‘underwritten’ by conventional generation – which is why Germany is digging ever larger amounts of coal – well lignite – out of the ground to keep their lights on. Wind power is unreliable – you can’t run a modern world on it. If you want to subsidise energy generation you’ve got to look at what gives the most stable power out for every pound of cash put in……..and that means nuclear power and coal. Wind turbines exist because of huge taxpayer subsidies – turn off that cash tap and lo and behold they don’t get built – just as the Scots are whining that without English taxpayer funds, Scottish windpower is unviable. Just like solar power – how many PV panels do you think would be installed in the UK without massive taxpayer subsidies for solar energy? Look at Spain as a case in point – without subsidies….green power collapses… …and Green power is never going to be stable.

  24. gunnerbear

    Green jobs cost more jobs than they create…… And thanks to insane green regulatory costs and the ramping up of energy prices to fund stupid green power, a major employer in the North East shut down, causing job losses….. Chilling reading eh? Greens costing UK jobs and doing nothing to cut pollution as the jobs move elsewhere. Ah….green power… good it’s got to be underwritten by diesel power…..

  25. Jon Bissett

    Yes Britain is failing our environment, while Scotland is fighting its corner, there are days here where our energy needs are met solely by renewables. The subsidies have been cut because we are embarrassing our near neighbours with their inactivity.

  26. Jon Bissett

    Yes Britain is failing our environment, while Scotland is fighting its corner, there are days here where our energy needs are met solely by renewables. The subsidies have been cut because we are embarrassing our near neighbours with their inactivity.

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  28. Iain Fletcher

    Why should we mirror? Who did we “mirror” for the NHS? Why can’t we lead instead of follow?

  29. Foxytrader

    Okay. So what would that look like? How would it manifest itself?

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