Labour will work with trade unions to ensure the UK is carbon neutral by the 2030s, shadow business and energy secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey said as the party launched its fast track climate strategy today (24 October).
The report, entitled 30 by 2030 and authored by a group of independent energy experts tasked by the Labour party, was described by Unite as a “game changer” in the debate about decarbonising the economy.
It identifies four goals to transform the UK’s energy supply and use 20 years before the Tory zero carbon target of 2050.
These are reducing energy waste in buildings and industry, decarbonising heat, boosting renewable and low carbon electricity generation and balancing the UK’s supply and demand.
Rebecca Long Bailey said, “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.
“The recommendations in this report could put the UK on track for a zero-carbon energy system during the 2030s – 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.”
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.
The report also recommends installing 8m heat pumps, 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 £800bn 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 2.5m households and could result in 565,000 less cases of asthma due to reduced damp by 2030.
Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy could also 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 £400m per year.
Commenting, Unite national officer for energy Peter McIntosh said, “This plan is a ‘game changer’ in the debate about how we decarbonise energy in a way that boosts jobs and the economy, while protecting our environment for future generations.
“As the largest union representing energy workers, we very much welcome the continued commitment by the Labour party to put workers at the heart of the transition to a green economy.
“This radical plan will not only create 850,000 new skilled unionised jobs here in the UK, but also help end fuel poverty while boosting household incomes.”