The Greener Jobs Alliance has published its top 10 Election Demands:
- Keep the Climate Change Act 2008. Stick to the UK’s legally binding commitments to cut harmful greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 as a minimum. Ensure that UK energy and industrial policy is effectively aligned with the Committee on Climate Change projections and carbon budgets.
- Trust the people with a massive boost to energy democracy. Support a new wave of community based solar and onshore wind projects with ambitious feed-in tariffs wherever there is local support. Lift the ban on onshore wind projects. Support for local authorities to set up municipal energy supply companies.
- Ban fracking and respect local democracy wherever fracking applications are opposed by local communities.
- Cut energy bills and carbon emissions with a nationwide home insulation programme. ‘Retrofit’ poorly insulated homes and build new, low energy social housing, using as far as possible direct labour, and supported by high quality vocational education and training. Make ‘Energy efficiency’ a national infrastructure priority to create decent jobs, reduce fuel poverty and reduce fuel bills
- Make education for sustainable development a core priority across the education system. Prioritise research funding that will promote the implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
- Create a million skilled climate jobs: invest in all forms of renewable energy, low carbon jobs and skills, including electric vehicle manufacture, rail investment, and build a full supply chain to make and supply renewable energy technologies in the UK.
- Create a new Green Investment Bank in public ownership and with full accountability. Use the green bank to support Regional Development Board investment in green energy and transport infrastructure projects.
- Create a National Climate Service to oversee the transition to a low carbon economy. This to include a Ministry for Climate Jobs, Skills and Social Protection’ to equip the UK to a transformation of the world of work working across all Government departments and industrial sectors.
- Introduce an Environment Protection Act to incorporate vital European directives into UK law. Commit the UK to retain membership of the European Court of Justice to ensure that our citizens have the same environmental protection rights as all EU citizens, wherever environmental standards are at risk.
- Introduce a Clean Air Act to tackle air pollution once and for all. Place a clear legal responsibility on employers and businesses to address air quality and develop a network of low emission zones in pollution hot spots.
As far as I can see there are no figures attached to these proposals, and so it's unclear how much it would all cost. Clearly, some are not expensive, but others seem to demand a blank cheque: "ambitious feed-in tariffs", for example. And some make no sense at all: "invest in all forms of renewable energy", given that some forms (I'm thinking biomass) seem an environmental catastrophe. I note there's no mention of nuclear power or tackling energy poverty. The first is tricky; the second surely should be a priority.
There are some oddities. Take No. 3: [a] Ban fracking and [b] respect local democracy wherever fracking applications are opposed by local communities. If you do [a], there's no need for [b]. But suppose fracking applications are supported by local communities? Where does that leave No. 2: Trust the people ... energy democracy?
Where indeed. Still; these are much more coherent than some of the demands I've seen.