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Labour's nationalisation plan: What policies are needed to avert climate catastrophe?
Michael Johnson, Leeds Socialist Party
Jeremy Corbyn has announced a 'Green Industrial Revolution.' The plans include nationalising the gas and electricity supply - taking the National Grid into public ownership.
Labour's 'Bringing Energy Home' also promised that in government they would fit nearly two million homes with solar panels, and give interest-free loans and grants to help a further 750,000 homes install solar panels.
Labour commits to generating at least 60% of the UK's electricity and heat from renewable and low-carbon sources by 2030 in response to the UN's 12-year deadline to avert a global climate catastrophe. While a positive step, there is still more Labour, and particularly Labour councils, could do to tackle climate change now.
At present, Labour councils are, on the whole, at best, declaring 'climate emergencies' while taking few of the steps they could to make real change.
In some areas, Labour councils are carrying out plans that will lead to increased carbon-dioxide emissions - as is the case where I live in Leeds. Leeds Labour Council has declared a climate emergency, but is expanding Leeds-Bradford Airport.
Instead, councils should invest in and develop public transport to make it cheaper and easier for working-class people to reduce car usage. This would require taking public transport out of the hands of the privatisers.
Councils should build new, green, carbon-neutral, council homes that can reduce energy consumption. Councils would have to resist rather than implement the cuts brought on by Tory austerity, and use their reserves and borrowing powers in the short term while they mobilise working-class support to win the money back.
The recent climate change movement has seen thousands take to the streets. This has certainly had an impact on Labour announcing these policies.
However, the key to building real action means mobilising the organised working class and campaigning for trade unions to take action.
They should organise around a socialist programme that fights for investment into safe forms of renewable energy, renationalisation of privatised utilities and public transport under democratic workers' control, step-up research on green energy, waste reduction and energy saving and a democratic socialist plan of production that puts people and the environment first.
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