Tackling the drivers of environmental degradation will require a “fundamental rebalancing of economic power"
A Labour government would set a target for UK emissions to be slashed to “net zero” by the middle of the century, boosting ambition from the current 80 percent set in the Climate Change Act.
The party says it will ensure that 60 percent of energy to be from low carbon or renewable sources within 12 years of coming to power - up from around 10 percent now, bring back the zero carbon homes target scrapped by the Conservatives and table a Clean Air Act, according to its environment manifesto published at the weekend ahead of its annual conference.
Labour said that tackling the drivers of environmental degradation would require a “fundamental rebalancing of economic power”. Economic decisions should be made by the many who will suffer the consequences of climate change, rather than the few who have benefited from it.
Rebalancing economic power
The party wants to bring the water, rail and energy sectors back into public ownership, arguing that this would lower bills while providing investment.
Funding for farming and fishing should be reconfigured to support sustainable practices, smaller traders, local economies and community benefits, it said.
It reiterated its promise to ban fracking, as is the case in France and Germany. Any airport expansion would have to pass tests on noise and air pollution, while staying within the UK’s climate change obligations and meeting growth across the country, it said.
Greenpeace praised the manifesto’s ambition on fracking, onshore wind, home energy efficiency and public transport. It was also pleased with a commitment to review the UK’s fishing quota to support low-impact fishing, which it said would benefit the UK’s coastal communities.
However, Greenpeace UK head of politics Rebecca Newsom pointed out the lack of policy on waste and plastic pollution.
“Labour should introduce a progressive waste and resource strategy that requires corporate producers of waste to cut the amount they churn out and take full responsibility for disposing safely of the rest,” she said.
Catherine Early is a freelance environmental journalist and chief reporter for The Ecologist. She was formerly the deputy editor of the Environmentalist. She can be found tweeting at @Cat_Early76.