Labour will deliver climate justice by decarbonising quickly and guaranteeing decent, warm homes.
The Labour party announced one of the most ambitious climate policies this country has ever seen shortly before Parliament had even dissolved.
The 'Warm Homes for All' plan would create 450,000 jobs by installing energy saving measures such as loft insulation and double glazing - renewable and low carbon technologies - in almost all of the UK’s 27 million homes.
This is unequivocally the Green New Deal in action. Labour Party Conference 2019 voted to support the Labour for a Green New Deal and Fire Brigades Union’s (FBU) motion in September. The party's pursuit of net-zero emissions by 2030 will be driven by the need to rapidly decarbonise while also tackling economic injustice.
Labour states that the policy will cut national carbon emissions by 10 percent - the equivalent of 72 percent of the emissions of all the cars in the UK. It will bring energy bills for the 9.6 million low-income households in the UK down by an average of £417 per year. It will eradicate the vast majority of fuel poverty by the mid-2020s.
In true spirit of ‘for the many, not the few’, Warm Homes for All will upgrade low income households for free with no upfront costs and bills falling immediately afterwards. Wealthier households will be offered interest free loans to improve the homes and lower energy bills.
This news comes just a day after Labour pledged to make all new homes zero-carbon by 2022. The BBC reported that if Labour wins the election and fulfils its pledge “new homes would not be fitted with fossil fuel heating systems, such as gas boilers, as standard and would have ‘super-efficient insulation’ and triple-glazed windows.”
Jeremy Corbyn said: “This election is our last chance to tackle the climate emergency.” He’s right. And Labour are facing up to that challenge. Crucially, and in the spirit of the Green New Deal, this won't come at the cost of working class people.
Capitalism and profiteering have driven the climate crisis and forced people to choose between eating and heating their homes. This is the injustice that drove the campaign behind Labour’s socialist Green New Deal, and it is the success of that campaign and organising from the grassroots of Labour that has created the conditions for bold policies like this to come to the fore.
In February, Rebecca Long Bailey, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, called on activists to “push us to do more." And we activists certainly have done.
In May 2018, Labour’s policy was to insulate four million households. A year and a half - and a historic conference - later and the same party is now promising to insulate a breathtaking 27 million homes as part of a green industrial revolution.
There is an increasingly stark choice on offer as we go into this election. Labour will deliver climate justice by decarbonising quickly and guaranteeing decent, warm homes.
The Tories will deliver climate apartheid by delaying the energy transition and worsening the housing crisis.
Chris Saltmarsh is co-founder of Labour for a Green New Deal.
Image: John Brightley, Geograph.