The UK Needs a Green New Deal, And It Stands Within Our Grasp. But the phenomenon is more than a set of policy proposals piggybacking on the popularity of a new kid on the block. Inspired by the New Deal launched to tackle the effects of the Great Depression in the 1930s, the GND is an umbrella term for radical and transformative plans to move the US away from fossil fuels by 2030 while tackling economic inequality and creating hundreds of thousands of good green jobs. It is offering people an attractive alternative to climate breakdown: a future where their lives are dramatically richer and more abundant than they are now. This framing has so far proved successful – so much so that polling in December found overwhelming cross-party support for the GND, with 81% of registered voters saying they either “strongly support” (40%) or “somewhat support” (41%) the plan. But recent advances in Labour’s environmental policy have made such a plan look possible – if not yet probable. ‘The Green Transformation’, a policy outline published during Labour’s party conference last year, is promising. With a focus on structural transformation over lifestyle changes and the message that we don’t have to choose between living standards and a liveable planet, the paper sets out impressive proposals for housing, land and transport and commendable plans to ensure UK aid doesn’t support fossil fuels – and puts class, power structures and justice for the Global South front and centre. It’s nothing like the scope and scale of the plans being touted for a GND in the US: the target of 60% renewables within 12 years of a Labour government is woefully inadequate, it leaves open the possibility of airport expansion, and there’s only one vague bullet point on a just transition. But with the reassurance that the paper just a starting point, it undoubtedly gives cause for hope.
Novara Media 21st Jan 2019 read more »