Last Thursday, Labour welcomed an expert fast-track plan to clean up the UK’s energy system.
At Labour Party Conference 2019, motions were adopted calling on the Party to “work towards a path to net zero carbon emissions by 2030” and “work towards a path of net zero carbon emissions within keeping of the IPCC advice including to keep global average temperature rises below 1.5C”.
In line with this, Labour tasked a group of independent energy industry experts with identifying the most radical feasible pathway to decarbonise the energy system by 2030.
Electricity and heating across the UK makes up 56% of the UK’s carbon emissions. Their report, 30 by 2030, identifies four goals to transform the UK’s energy supply and use: reducing energy waste in buildings and industry; decarbonising heat; boosting renewable and low carbon electricity generation and balancing the UK’s supply and demand.
Thirty recommendations to meet these goals include upgrading every home in the UK with energy saving measures like insulation and double glazing, focusing first on damp homes and areas with fuel poverty; installing 8 million heat pumps; installing 7,000 off-shore wind turbines, 2,000 more on-shore wind turbines and solar panels covering an area 22,000 football pitches, tripling the UK’s current capacity.
By 2030 the recommended investment in the energy sector would lead to a net benefit of £800 billion to the economy – the equivalent to the whole economy of Holland or Turkey – and create 850,000 new skilled jobs in green industry.
Upgrading housing stock has the potential to end to the fuel poverty currently affecting 2.5 million households. By 2030 these measures could mean 565,000 less cases of asthma due to reduced damp.
Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy could result in 6,200 avoided respiratory related deaths a year by 2030 due to improved air quality. Overall, benefits to public health have the potential to save the NHS £400 million per year.
Commenting on the report, Rebecca Long Bailey MP, Labour’s Shadow Business and Energy Secretary, said:
“This report makes a major contribution to Labour’s plans to kickstart a Green Industrial Revolution.
“The Labour Party has among the most ambitious climate targets in the world and is the only party turning their targets into detailed, credible plans to tackle the climate and environmental crisis.
“Inaction on climate by Conservative and Lib-Dem Coalition Governments has led to a lost decade in the race to cut emissions from our energy system. The recommendations in this report could put the UK on track for a zero-carbon energy system during the 2030’s – but only if rapid progress is made early on. The next five years are therefore crucial.
“We are working with trade unions to ensure that the changes to our energy system will be planned democratically, with the interests of workers and local communities at the heart of the transition.”
Jill Borcherds, Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Stevenage added:
“The coming election needs to be about far more than Brexit for the sake of all our futures. It is crystal clear that we face a climate emergency – indeed Climate Emergency declarations have been made by Stevenage Borough Council, Hertfordshire County Council and the UK Government – all 3 were instigated by Labour representatives.
Labour have detailed plans for action not just words and the Labour Green Industrial Revolution is set to be one of the most significant parts of the Labour manifesto for this election – essential for us all”.