Brown, Cameron Have “Tenuous Grasp” Of Sustainable Economics

UK is being left behind in green industrial revolution

One of Britain’s leading Greens today slammed Gordon Brown’s allegedly ‘green’ new deal, and called for a long overdue green industrial revolution.

In an analysis piece in online news and current affairs service, Professor John Whitelegg said, ‘We have known the inherent advantages of green economics for a long time. It’s now a decade since the European Commission worked out that doubling the amount of renewables in Europe would create 500,000 to 900,000 new jobs. Since then we’ve seen 13,000 jobs created in Denmark in wind energy alone, bringing the total to 23,000 – and that’s a country the size of North West England with a population comparable to London’s.’

He continued, ‘It’s a decade since researchers assessed that a 10-year programme to cut domestic energy use would create 500,000 person-years of work in the UK; but Tony Blair killed off the highly popular Home Energy Conservation Bill and we’re still wanting a complete retrofit of twenty million UK homes to 21st-century green energy standards.’

Professor Whitelegg, who has taught sustainable development and sustainable transport at UK universities and worked internationally as a transport and environment consultant, asked what the Labour government is waiting for. He drew attention to Labour’s own 1994 report In Trust for Tomorrow, which found that ‘higher environmental standards’ could generate 682,000 jobs, allowing for a carbon tax and various investments.

‘Other organisations made similar findings,’ he said. ‘Energy for Sustainable Development Ltd found in 1998 that for an investment of £2.2 billion a year, up to half a million UK jobs could be created by a range of policies calculated to cut CO2 emissions by 30% by 2010.’

John Whitelegg, who is the Green Party’s national spokesperson on sustainabale development, accused Labour and the Tories of ‘tinkering with half-baked ideas tacked-on to an outmoded concept of economics,’ and said
they should ‘get a serious grip on reality.’

He concluded, ‘We don’t need a Brown New Deal. We need a Green New Deal.’

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