Another deal on Climate change; another Conference of Procrastination

As the coal dust settled on COP 24 (Conference of Parties for its full title) in Katowice Poland, the ‘deal’ was released to the world with a ‘high’ spirited Michal Kurtvka, Chairman of the COP and Poland’s energy minister, leaping form the stage in celebration, writes Sam Mason.  And celebrate they might. The deal to establish a common rule book on how countries will monitor and meet their carbon reduction targets arising from the Paris Climate agreement, requires little action. This will scarcely slow  the full force of climate catastrophe hurtling towards us.

I was privileged to spend a few days at the COP as part of the International Trade Union Congress (ITUC) delegation. Privileged because the people who will be affected by the deal made in Katowice – the working class, vulnerable, indigenous, small island nations and more – could not be further removed from the outcomes of these talks.

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Can the Labour Party reclaim the future from catastrophic climate change?

In a week of fracking irony, can the Labour Party reclaim the future from catastrophic climate change, asks Sam Mason?

It’s a decade since the Labour Party pioneered the ground-breaking Climate Change Act 2008. A rare moment of political consensus forged in the centre ground of New Labour and Tory beyond ideology visions of the ‘modern market economy’.  Responses to climate change if anything, are ideological in their economic and political basis and absurd that solutions can be left to the market waiting for signals.  Surely the scientific signals that we have twelve years to stabilise emissions are paramount and reassuringly something the Labour Party are finally addressing opposing the dogma of the market.  But is the party ready to “reclaim the future” with a transformative and ideological vision as Rebecca Long-Bailey said in her keynote speech at the party conference in September?

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Time to strengthen Climate Change Act

The Labour Party’s consultation document, A Greener Britain, seeks proposals about different aspects of environmental policy. In this series of articles, Redgreenlabour supporters offer their thoughts. Please comment on these contributions which the authors may well revise and submit to the consultation in due course. We also urge you to submit your own responses to the Party – whether as individuals or through your branches, CLPs, unions, SERA or other environmental groups. The deadline is 24th June.

Q:  What steps need to be taken for the UK to put itself on course to meet climate targets?

The Climate Change Act 2008 was a notable Labour Party achievement, making the UK the first nation to set a legislative obligation to tackle climate change, writes Sam Mason.  Progress towards the target “to ensure that the net UK carbon account for the year 2050 is at least 80% lower than the 1990 baseline” has been made. Largely achieved through emissions reductions from the power sector by phasing out coal for example, it’s now time to urgently tackle the more difficult areas of transport, buildings, and industry.

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