Conference could back a 'socialist Green New Deal' - including nationalising the energy companies.
UPDATE 2pm: Labour delegates overwhelmingly voted to pass the left-wing Green New Deal motion in a show of hands, while the GMB version backing nuclear also passed on a card vote.
Labour delegates will vote on backing a radical Green New Deal at Labour conference on Sunday morning.
Dozens of environmental motions were submitted to conference this year, with 25 using Labour for a Green New Deal’s motion, with a Green New Deal scoring in the top 10 policies prioritised by both CLPs and Labour affiliates, including unions.
A compositing meeting on Saturday night – the byzantine process whereby party figures, affiliates and motion backers negotiate over the wording that will be taken to a conference vote – saw the GMB union put forward a counter motion to Labour for a Green New Deal’s – backing new nuclear power plants, and mass investment in ‘green gas‘.
Both motions are set be voted on today – and both could pass, giving the leadership office a relatively free hand to pick which parts they wanted to take on board.
Crucially, the GMB’s Green New Deal motion appears to soften support for nationalising the energy companies, saying only: “Public and alternative forms of ownership will be necessary to tackle climate and environmental breakdown.” This compares to L4GND’s motion saying backing ‘public ownership of energy’.
The Green New Deal involves using massive investment and expansion of public ownership (including the energy sector) to fight climate change and promote a just transition.
This Green New Deal composite 1, below, was produced with unions the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association and the Fire Brigades Union, together with the majority of CLPs which submitted environmental motions.
Groups from across the party united in recognition of the urgency of the climate change threat and the need to fight this threat in a socially just manner, Labour for a Green New Deal said.
Chris Saltmarsh, co-founder and chair of Labour for a Green New Deal, said: “The Labour Party will now have a chance to back a transformative Green New Deal – a programme which would see us begin to take seriously both the climate change and social inequalities. In the midst of an energy crisis, the timing couldn’t be more significant.
“We have reached this point as a result of a huge wave of grassroots support across the party and the labour movement. It’s time for Labour’s leadership to join with its membership and put this Green New Deal front and centre of its vision and offer to voters.”
Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday morning, Keir Starmer rejected public ownership of the energy companies, saying: “I do not agree with the argument that says we must be ideological” – paving the way for a show-down if conference passes the motion below.
News outlet Politico noted that Starmer has previously pledged to “support common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water” – a point emphasised by Shadow Energy Secretary Ed Miliband earlier this week.
Composite 2 can be viewed here.
Green New Deal 1 – Composite 1 (in full)
As with Covid, the climate crisis exposes sharply the inequalities in society in the UK and internationally and we must ensure that workers are at the heart of any future programme and that means unshackling trade unions.
- The UK faces a post-covid unemployment crisis with insecurity and low- pay rife for workers.
- Intensifying climate and environmental breakdown brings devastating threats to public health and livelihoods.
- The UN’s latest climate report states that temperatures are likely to rise by more than the vital 1.5C limit in the next two decades, bringing widespread devastation and extreme weather.
- That only immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in emissions can prevent such breakdown.
- Local communities in the UK and countries around the world are experiencing climate change related extreme weather events, including devastating flooding, wildfires, hurricanes, and droughts. This is with warming at 1.2°C above average pre-industrial levels. Currently, we are headed for a 2.9°C temperature increase.
- Keir Starmer has pledged to hardwire the socialist Green New Deal into everything we do.
- The UK spends billions of pounds per year on fossil fuel subsidies and is a key jurisdiction for the enforcement of globally accrued debt.
- Ahead of COP26, Labour should promote a just, green recovery combining efforts to address unemployment, climate change, and public health.
- The Tory government is posturing on climate change with no serious plan to meet its climate targets. It has cut Green Home Grants and paid £40bn fossil fuels subsidies since March 2020 alone.
- Privatisation has undermined decarbonisation and pandemic response measures.
- The Covid Pandemic has shown that the levers of the state are required to respond to crises.
- Debt relief is essential to achieve climate justice.
Resolves to support:
- The socialist Green New Deal that will shift power from capital into the hands of workers .
- Public ownership of energy including energy companies, creating an integrated, democratic system.
- A government program creating millions of well-paid, unionised green jobs with publicly owned entities
- Creating well-financed publicly owned national and regional green investment banks.
- Mass investment in green technologies and renewables;
- A just transition with a comprehensive re-training program and green job guarantee on union rates for affected workers.
- A just transition for British steelworkers, through sustained investment to decarbonise the steel industry
- Expansion and electrification of integrated public transport, including public ownership of our railways; free local bus networks, rail electrification, high- speed rail, sustainably powered rail freight and electric buses;
- Just climate adaptation, investing in fire and rescue services, flood defences, and resilient infrastructure;
- Retrofitting all homes to the highest standard of energy efficiency
- The creation of a National Climate Service, similar to creation of our NHS by Labour in 1948, to now tackle the crisis facing our planet
- Subsidies to support a comprehensive investment programme in renewable energy, home retrofit and zero carbon homes, decarbonisation of industry and transport, and nature restoration.
- Universal basic services, including a national care service
- Gearing education and training to climate transition.
- Banning fracking.
- National Nature service including ten new national parks, strategic rewilding, land regeneration, and particularly the restoration of upland bogs.
- Agricultural transition with the contribution regenerative farmers make by capturing carbon, managing water and promoting biodiversity to be recognised with funding
- Repealing all anti-trade union laws so workers can freely take industrial action over wider social and political issues, for industrial action to ensure action on climate change.
- Workers organising to decarbonise industries and the global supply chain.
- Using public procurement to promote decarbonisation, environmental protections, and international justice in global supply chains.
- All future stimulus and bailout eligibility linked to climate action and just transition plans;
- A global socialist Green New Deal, debt relief for low-income country debt held by UK institutions, financially assisting the transition in developing countries and freely sharing technology and resources internationally.
- Legal recognition of climate refugees’ right to asylum.
- Linking internationally with indigenous groups, trade unions and groups resisting ecological assault.
FBU, Edinburgh Central CLP
Josiah Mortimer is co-editor of Left Foot Forward.
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