UNION

Bold action on climate change needs a plan

Energy - 24 Sep 2019

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I’m a dad, who wants the planet to be in a fit shape for my kids and their kids after them

And I’m a General Secretary who wants proud energy workers to have safe, secure and skilled work. 

The potential exists right now to unite green new dealers and the labour movement around the economic, not just the climate necessities of tackling climate change. 

This debate matters to each and every one of us. 

To every worker, to every home, to every classroom and community. 

GMB union supports bold action on climate change.

Our futures are at stake. We have a duty to take bold action now, and to lead the world without offering false promises.

Just two weeks ago we joined with other unions through the TUC in demanding a radical, just transition with green jobs at its heart.

I’m proud that today we’re supporting a plan that leads the world in tackling climate breakdown, along with environmentalists, unions and Labour Party members.

You can't get more radical than leading the world.

But the key word is plan.


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That is what will convince people, it is what will ensure we can manage this process in an orderly and just transition that does not shut down industries and harm communities in the way that we saw in the 1980s. 

But this is also why today we cannot support a separate proposal that would set a target of reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2030. 

Action on climate change matters too much to promise something that cannot be delivered.

Nobody thinks 2030 is a remotely achievable deadline. There is no conceivable pathway to 2030. Environmental groups such as Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace aren't calling for 2030.

There’s no point passing a pie in the sky target without a credible plan on how to achieve it. In fact it damages the prospects of real action on climate change.

We’ve asked time and again for what hitting a 2030 deadline would look like – and I’m sorry to say there is no plan for it.

We believe it would mean within the next decade a series of measures such as the confiscation of petrol cars, it will require the state rationing of meat, it will mean limiting families to one flight for every five years. And it will put entire industries and the jobs they produced in peril. 

That's not going to help get a Labour government elected.

And it doesn't have to be this way.

GMB is proud to support today calls for a comprehensive plan that commits us to global leadership in tackling climate breakdown.

At best a 2030 target is setting the party up for a target it has no chance to getting anywhere close to. 

At worst our opponents on the right of the political spectrum will exploit the lack of credibility and the far right will try and exploit the implications of this date.

It is essential that we create millions of new jobs in energy and other parts of public services to respond to climate breakdown. 

Sellafield worker & GMB member Joseph Ghayouba speaks at Labour Conference

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There is plenty of agreement on that. 

It really shouldn’t be controversial to want an energy solution that reduces emissions, saves the planet, but creates decent jobs, keeps the lights on and the economy moving. 

We can do that. But not by 2030. To reach this target by 2030 work would have had to have started ten years ago - it wasn’t.

We need our green industrial revolution to benefit the communities decimated by Thatcher and since blighted by the explosion of insecure work and the Amazon economy. 

We need energy workers involved in playing a leading role in shaping any just transition so that they don't fear the future but see even more opportunities ahead for them and their families.

So because we are not going along with this 2030 target does not mean we are not ambitious. 


Far from it. 

The motion GMB is proud to support today calls for a comprehensive plan that commits us to global leadership in tackling climate breakdown. 

Our futures are at stake. We have a duty to take bold action now, and to lead the world without offering false promises.

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