Green New Deal: a new report and the route to zero carbon Britain?
Today sees the launch of the latest report from the Green New Deal Group: A National Plan for the UK, and a strategy to kick-start the nation into the age of the ‘Green New Deal’.
Unveiled on the 5th anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse, the plan is designed to fundamentally transform a still-broken financial system and reduce the deficit, while revamping the UK’s aging infrastructure to meet a range of environmental and social challenges.
Rising to the challenges of climate change is a central tenet of the report, and it draws heavily on the work of the latest report from the Centre for Alternative Technology – Zero Carbon Britain: Rethinking the Future (ZCB).
The proposed £50 billion-a-year programme boosts real economic activity and provides quality jobs across the country by galvanizing key infrastructure projects and initiatives needed to reach zero emissions. These include:
- A nationwide project to increase energy-efficiency in every home, including highly insulated and efficent new builds. As the ‘Power Down’ (pp. 38 – 53) chapter in ZCB outlines, this is a key initiative capable of reducing energy use across our building stock by 60%.
- The mass deployment of renewable technologies. A workable energy mix for renewables, including detailed variability management, is presented in the ‘Power Up’ section of ZCB (pp. 54 – 72).
- Investing in a low carbon travel infrastructure instead of HS2. Again, the enormous potential emissions reductions linked to transport through behaviour, efficiency and fuel mix changes are represented in ZCB (pp. 47 – 53).
- Ensuring efficient resource use by developing resource and waste recovery. The emissions gains of managing waste efficiently, and its role in supporting a carbon-neutral energy system are outlined in the ZCB ‘Waste’ chapter (pp. 76 – 80).
The Zero Carbon Britain report estimated that rapid decarbonisaton in the UK could generate 1.5 million regionally distributed jobs across multiple sectors, and is a key opportunity
Where the ZCB report provides an important future scenario of what a net zero emissions UK could look like, ‘Green New Deal: A National Plan for the UK’ report provides a critical framework for how we might arrive here.
The report identifies the Green New Deal would be financed through a range of equally progressive measures, including:
- Tackling tax evasion and avoidance;
- A programme of Green Quantitative Easing (QE);
- Ensuring banks that were bailed out by the taxpayer also invest in such a programme at low, sustainable rates of interest;
- Encouragement for pension funds and other institutional investors to invest in the Green New Deal;
- Buying out the private finance initiative (PFI) debt using Green QE and redirecting some of the otherwise huge repayments into funding green infrastructure.
The report also considers the ‘multiplier effect’, and the benefits to the public purse of wholesale investment in jobs, including tax-receipts and spending power across the population.
‘Green New Deal: A National Plan for the UK’ makes a compelling and uplifting read; spelling out some of the critical mechanisms we have available to make a zero carbon Britain a reality, right here, right now.
The report can be downloaded free here.
More information about our ZCB report can be found here.