Friday, March 06, 2009

Green New Deal's popularity soars

They are all for it! At least they've got the sound bites - now let's press them on the specifics.

Our glorious leader (tugs forelock) calls for a "green new deal";

"Mr Brown will also say that, during his talks this week with US President Barack Obama in Washington, they agreed on the "imperative" of investing in cleaner technologies to create jobs and growth.

"We know that the more we are able to co-ordinate these measures internationally, the more confidence and certainty we will build and the more investment we will be able to bring forward," he will say.

"That's why I want to create a global 'green new deal' that will pave the way for a low-carbon recovery and to help us build tomorrow's green economy today."

Ed Miliband outlines his plans for a low carbon economy;
The strategy, seen by the Guardian, says: "The transition will transform our whole economy. It will change our industrial landscape ... and the way in which we all work and consume."...

"[The strategy] include new initiatives beyond existing government policies, such as the pledge this year to give every home a green makeover by 2030. There will also be discussions about how to create as many jobs as possible in the UK, using policies such as regional aid and the £175bn a year spent by the public sector.
Today the TUC "calls on the Government to:

* Set demanding targets across the economy. While the overall target set in the Climate Change Act is welcome, the Government must follow up with detailed targets for individual sectors if behaviour is to change.

* Accept a central role for the state in creating demand for green products and services, using public procurement, providing green information to consumers and intervening in markets that are failing to encourage green behaviour.

* Invest in innovation, research and development at levels that allow us to catch up with those European economies.

* Invest in the skills needed in a green economy, and ensuring that skills shortages are not a block on future green developments."

Now, I've had a quick squizz at the specifics of the government's thinking and I don't like to be negative but there's no way round this - they are crap. Now it's great that they have a vague commitment to doing people's homes up in the next twenty years. But excuse me if I'm not bowled over by the revolutionary thinking behind this.

I'd add that the explicit commitment to coal and nuclear as part of Miliband's overhaul of the "industrial landscape" has very little butterability in the parsnip department. Very little indeed. In fact, what the government announcements boil down to is that they are having a conference to make themselves look green and have issued some pompous sounding PR to go with it.

Sadly, some people will buy it and I think this means for our side that we have to get very specific about what we want and when we want it, popularising the demands of the New Economic Foundation's Green New Deal without getting subsumed into Gordiband's substanceless gusts of wind. No amount of custard will cover that up.

To my mind the trade union movement will be central to this, which gives me the perfect opportunity to plug this weekend's Trade Union Climate Change conference again (details here). We also need to be careful of winning the government over to the brand name without shifting them on the policy.


CharlieMcMenamin said...

Yes, the govt's version of the 'Green New Deal' is just 'greenspray'.

Compare Richard Murphy, not a green, but one of the authors of the NEF's Green new Deal pamphlet, on how to spend the £75bn we've just printed:

"I would like £75 billion to be spent. But I mean I want it spent. I want rail electrification (planning permission not always required). I want massive retrofitting of our housing stock to make it carbon efficient. I want improvements in our National Grid. I want expenditure on alternative transport systems, not cars or roads. I want investment in green technology. I would buy out PFI. These provide real long-term benefits. They also create a massive multiplier effect..."

Strategist said...

By 20-fucking-30??
For God's sake. E. Miliband is clearly as shameless as his brother!

"...the £175bn a year spent by the public sector"

That's what they dole out a day to the bankers!

michael greenwell said...

they won't do anything about all of this until they are sure that the 'right' people can control it and profit from it.

Jim Jay said...

Thanks for that Charlie!

Strategist: I know - let's set a target for us to miss in 21 years time - it's ludicrous. But they got what they wanted - headlines in every paper saying they were doing "green" things.

Michael - I think it's just business as usual with a spin that, unfortunately seems to have largely worked. Like eco-towns it's the same policy but with recycled paper.

But your right - it's the priorities of profit and control - or power - and has nothing to do with any kind of progressive agenda.

Strategist said...

Jim, any news from the Campaign against Climate Change Trade Union conference on Saturday?