Tag Archives: Green New Deal

The Queens Speech, a ‘Squandered Opportunity’.

Responding to the Queen’s Speech to Parliament, Caroline Lucas MP said that the Coalition Government had squandered a vital opportunity to put action to tackle climate change and the growing environmental crisis at the top of its legislative agenda.  ‘Listening to the Queen’s Speech today, you’d be forgiven for assuming that the climate crisis has simply gone away. In the face of mounting scientific concern about the urgency of the threat we face from climate change, the deafening silence from this Government is unforgivable.’

We know why there is no action.  This government is protecting the investment in the carbon sector made by those who keep it in power – read the article on the Carbon Bubble, posted here earlier this year.  This Government is incapable of showing leadership – that is not its purpose.  Its purpose is to dismantle the State and sell it off to the private sector.  It is using what it calls the ‘economic mess’ as the smoke screen to do this.  It will only address the climate crisis when its backers in the financial sector are ready to make money out of it.  By then it will be a very costly task for us all.

Others see things differently.  Writing in the Financial Times, Nicholas Stern called for a ‘Queen’s Speech for Growth’, looking to the renewable energy sector to kick-start the shrinking economy.  He said ‘Policies to encourage low-carbon investment would provide new business opportunities, would generate income for investors, and would have credibility in the long term, both because they address growing global resource challenges, while tapping into a fast-growing global market for resource-efficient activities.’

In 2010, the Green Party manifesto called for a ‘Green New Deal,’ borrowing US President Roosevelt’s concept for an economic plan to end the great 1930’s depression by investing in public works.  The Green’s fully costed economic strategy would have seen the deficit cut by 2015 through investment in the green economy, increasing employment, cutting energy costs and boosting tax revenue. Corporate media empires chose to ignore this alternative strategy since they wanted to promote privatization and protect their interests in the carbon sector.  They hood-winked the electorate into voting for a range of ‘conservative’ economic strategies that, as we warned – have led to a double dip recession and rising unemployment.

The Green programme set out clear targets to cut carbon emissions to avoid warming exceeding 2°C, we called for cuts to annual carbon dioxide emissions of 10% – starting now, with the aim of reducing emissions by 65% by 2020 and 90% from 1990 levels by 2030.  The key to doing this is to decarbonise the energy sector.  To achieve this we proposed:

  • Reducing energy demand through insulation and energy efficiency measures, creating new local businesses and thousands of jobs
  • Investing in genuinely renewable energy sources, aiming to obtain half of our energy from renewables by 2020, backing this with direct government investment with strong and clear policy support, creating genuine energy security, boosting business and employment
  • Switching the investment planned for new coal, nuclear power and nuclear weapons to research into renewable energy technologies and their commercialisation, creating a major export potential
  • Supporting renewable heat with a levy on waste heat from power stations, supporting sustainable energy crops and combined heat and power, helping councils develop heat distribution networks, boosting local employment and the rural economy
  • Supporting the adoption of bio-gas from sustainable organic sources, but opposing the large scale cultivation of bio-fuels, especially in poor countries
  • Bringing the electricity network and gas mains into the public sector to develop them to suit renewable energy schemes and introduce smart meters and appliances
  • Support Europe-wide renewable energy initiatives, including the building of highly efficient Long Distance High Voltage DC power lines.

In addition, Greens proposed a range of other policies to encourage low carbon living.

  • Develop public transport as an acceptable and reliable alternative to car travel.
  • Change planning guidelines to ensure that facilities are within reasonable walking distance of residential areas, cutting the need for travel
  • Support to small and local business, including local supply networks.
  • Decarbonise food production by supporting small-scale organic farms supplying local markets.

Had Greens been in government, we would now be creating jobs, boosting tax revenue and securing long-term energy supply.  These policies will have to be adopted as some time, in some form.  As Nicholas Stern understates in his Financial Times article, ‘there is a recognition that actions [on low carbon investment] cannot be delayed indefinitely’.  However, the longer action is delayed, the costlier it will be for all of us.  We are hearing may calls at present to ‘make the switch’ – to seek out cheaper energy suppliers.  If consumers are really serious about making long term savings on their bills there is only one switch that will be effective, the switch to Green policies.

Mike Shipley

 

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Greens to contest Oldham East and Saddleworth By-election

A by-election has been called in the Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency, with polling on 13th January, 2011. Derbyshire Green Party member Peter Allen from Glossop, who stood in the High Peak in May, has been selected to represent the Green Party. The election follows the resignation of the former Labour MP Phil Woolas, who was debarred from Parliament for electoral mal-practice.

This contest will be the first electoral test for the coalition Government, and interestingly, both the LibDems and the Tories will be standing. The LibDems were 103 votes short of taking the seat from Labour in May, and under normal circumstances, they would be expected to take the seat comfortably. However, these are not normal circumstances, the LibDems are taking flack from the Tory press, and they are set to reap a bitter harvest over their U-turns on student fees, nuclear power and other issues. The word on the street is that Labour will hold the seat.

Media interest in the campaign will grow considerably in the New Year with the coalition partners competing against each other. The Tories will be keen to out poll the LibDems and they will work hard to get out their vote in the Saddleworth part of the Constituency. If they can do this, it will strengthen the hand of those in the party who want to break the coalition and go for an early poll before the advent of AV. These backwoodsmen will try hard to discredit the idea of coalition government, and as the Telegraph has done, will use any tactic how ever underhand, to convince the electorate that coalition is inherently unstable and delivers weak government. They do not want to share power – ever, they want absolute control to protect their vested interests.

This contest will also be seen as an early evaluation of Ed Millibands leadership of Labour and of his attempts to repair the damage done to the Party by Blair’s flirtation with American conservatism. He has yet to establish himself as a leader with a clear profile and agenda, and Labour has much to live down. They will find it difficult to criticise the cuts agenda that they would also have followed. They can hardly vigorously oppose the rise of student fees that they introduced, and in power, they were very keen to get private companies involved in both education delivery and the NHS.

There is also a dark side to the campaign. Oldham was the scene of serious rioting in 2001 and following that, the BNP did particularly well in both Oldham constituencies, polling 11% in Oldham East in the 2001 general election. Since then their vote has fallen back to around 5%, they did save their deposit in May. Since the riots, the causes of which remain controversial, much work has been done in the town to address the issue of segregation within the borough, but still the extreme right consider this to be fertile territory and both the BNP and the National Front have indicated that they will stand.

Many in Oldham do not accept that the riots of 2001 were race riots. There is a belief that the national media decided that this was the explanation and sensationalised events, so drawing in extremists from out of the area looking for a fight. People of Oldham are no more racist than in any other part of the country and do not welcome the inference that riots were due to local bigotry. They will probably not welcome the presence of extremist candidates in the by-election.

Greens clearly will work hard to out poll the negative extremists. Our aim is to focus the campaign on the issues that will affect the livelihoods and well-being of all people in the constituency and to offer positive alternatives to the ruinous ConDem policy of cuts. This includes the Green New Deal, a costed programme of investment in Green technology and the public sector to create thousands of sustainable jobs. We go in to the contest as the only party supporting free education at the point of delivery, knowing that it is through education that people can escape poverty and build self-confidence and a sense of self-worth, which the progressive private sector also requires.

Greens apply the same principle to the National Health Service, knowing that all people must have access to healthcare according to their needs and not their wealth. We will tell the electorate that the Green Deal is the pathway to creating thousands of new and sustainable jobs, that through a programme of home insulation we can cut energy bills, saving people money and providing work for local businesses. We will tell the electorate that the climate is changing, that the weather will become more extreme, but by addressing this issue now, we can create sustainable work and businesses now and avoid serious costs in the future. Greens will offer a positive message of hope in the face of the negative petty political point scoring of the other parties.

To keep updated with the campaign, visit http://www.oldhamgreens.org.com. If you can help this campaign in any way please contact, campaign@oldhamgreens.org.uk

[Mike Shipley 23 December 2010]

The Green New Deal

The Green Party Manifesto offered the electorate an economic programme that would reduce our national debt without cutting vital public services.  This programme is the Green New Deal. It is a response to the triple crisis that the world now faces:

  • A financial crisis caused by the uncontrolled speculation of international bankers, including many based in the City of London, interested in quick profits, rather than sustainable development, creating a financial bubble, which was bound to burst and did.
  • An energy crisis as the supply of oil peaks, and remaining reserves become more damaging and dangerous and expensive to extract.
  • A climate crisis driven by burning fossil fuels, resulting in increased global temperatures, threatening the very survival of humanity.

The Green New Deal proposed a major investment in energy conservation and renewable energy, creating thousands of sustainable jobs.  It proposed the serious regulation of the financial sector to prevent the reckless behaviour that led to the financial crisis, while ensuring that low cost finance was available for the construction of a low carbon economy.

The Green Party showed in its manifesto that it is possible to reduce our deficit while putting more people to work, protecting public services, and ensuring that the tax burden falls on those who can afford to pay.

Caroline Lucas, newly elected Green Party MP in Brighton, has spoken out against the economic destruction threatened by the ConDem government’s budget:

Cuts are not an economic inevitability.  They are an ideological choice. Politicians of all parties are now sharpening their axes to slash public spending, forcing those on lower incomes, who depend on public services the most, to pay the highest price for the recent excesses of the bankers.

That’s the challenge I’m issuing: for that political choice to be made.  It must be clearly asserted that we are not “all in this together”: that some had more responsibility for this crisis than others, and some benefited more from the boom that preceded it. Those who enjoyed the largest benefits must pay up now.  There is a choice.  We should ask those best able to pay to foot the bill through fairer taxation.  For that to happen, fair taxes, not cuts, must become the new big idea to replace today’s callous and uncaring cuts fanaticism.”

Only The Green Party has the policies and principles required to address the problems facing Britain and the world in these dangerous times. Please consider joining the Green Party or making a donation.

Greens Campaign For A Fairer Derbyshire Dales

Josh Stockell, the Green Party’s general election candidate for Derbyshire Dales, joined fellow party members in Bakewell on Saturday to finalise their campaign in Derbyshire. The meeting heard Josh underline the party’s commitment to a fairer and sustainable society.

“Under this government the gap between the top earners and the average has widened. Top financiers are walking away with million pound bonuses while workers in public services face swingeing cuts. This is not our idea of fairness.”

Handing out leaflets in Bakewell with his team before the meeting, Josh said: “

I am encouraged by the response we are getting. Most of the people I have spoken to are aware of the Green Party and many are pleased to learn that we are standing in Derbyshire Dales – for the first time.”

In his leaflet, Josh, a town councillor in Wirksworth, calls for change to a fair and sustainable economic system and a stop to the ‘growth at all costs’ policies favoured by the other parties. No other party offers a ‘Green New Deal’ with a million new jobs.

Other issues that Josh highlights in his campaign are: an end to MPs’ greed; more affordable homes; local food and proper vetting of imports to support our farmers; better public transport; more renewable energy; no more privatising of the NHS; welfare not warfare.