Planning for a Just Transition

Photo: Takver

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.

Question #5; ‘How can jobs be created and existing skills and workforces maintained in a future low-carbon economy?’

The transition to a sustainable economy will require many people to change their occupation. In Britain, many unions have been reluctant to take serious environmental action for fear that rapid change in employment would mean job losses, writes Andrea Grainger. Many remember Thatcher’s efforts to shut the pits which resulted in huge unemployment and the devastation of mining communities. Job losses however are not a natural consequence of the transition to a sustainable economy, but rather the result of poor planning, disrespect of working people, and overconfidence in trickle-down economics. A Just transition is possible.

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Britain’s Toxic Air a “National Health Emergency”

Photo: David Holt – Toxic London air pollution from Hackney

The recent joint select committee report is extremely critical of the government’s approach to air quality, writes Jon Duveen. It points out that there are about 40,000 early deaths a year from the toxic air in Britain, the majority of these are in London but significant deaths occur in other major cities. Andrew Selous MP, acting Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee, said: “Poor air quality has been classified as the largest environmental risk to the health of the British public, equating to around 40,000 early deaths every year. It is even more concerning that children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing health conditions are most at risk
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The extinction of species

Photo: Barta 1V

The mass extinction of species, currently taking place before our eyes, is arguably the most damaging aspect of the whole global environmental crisis, writes Alan Thornett.  The Earth is losing species 1000 times faster than the normal background rate, resulting in what is known as the ‘sixth extinction’ the greatest extinction of species since the demise of the dinosaurs.

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Economic growth, sustainability and degrowth

Photo: John Perivolaris – After Monet – near Giverny

It has become standard in modern society to expect that each year will see us consume more resources than the last. Since the 1940s the consumption of each nation on earth has been measured, and termed GDP, or Gross Domestic Product, writes Andrea Grainger. Not only is growth assumed in modern society, but also rapid growth. In Britain many economists say that an annual GDP growth of around 3% is ‘good’, 2% is ‘poor’ and 1% is ‘dreadful’. In effect an annual growth rate of 3% means doubling our rate of consumption every 23 years, so that by 2041 we will be consuming twice what we do today, by 2064 four times as much, and by 2087 eight times more.

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A tale of two power stations

Photo: Ahoy Polloi

Photo: Ahoy Polloi

The irrationality of current energy policy in Britain is nowhere currently better demonstrated than on the two sides of the Bristol Channel, writes Sean Thompson. On the English side, at Hinkley Point in Somerset, a new nuclear power station is being built, while on the Welsh coast the proposed construction of the ground breaking Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is being blocked by the Tory Government in Westminster.

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A new relationship between the Greens and Labour?

Photo: Travis Ford

Owen Jones’s recent suggestion that the Green Party should negotiate the same relationship with the Labour Party as that enjoyed by the Co-op Party seems to have hugely upset many Green Party members, writes Sean Thompson. What most Greens seem not to have noticed is that Jones was not proposing some sort of vague electoral pact with Labour, as the Green Party sort of proposed at the last election, but a whole new formal partnership between Labour and the Greens that could see its joint leader in a future Labour cabinet.

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