“Climate science, not the greenwash. Not what business tells us is possible, not what the banks or the corporations or the oil companies tell us is possible… that’s differentiates this from the Government’s Net Zero 2050 strategy.”
Clive Lewis MP sat down with Labour Outlook to discuss the Green New Deal Bill; pushing for global, transformative, and environmental change; and the failings of Sunak’s budget ahead of COP26. You can also watch the interview in full below:
The origins of the Green New Deal Bill in parliament began back in 2018 with a cross-party Bill drafted and supported by Caroline Lucas, Clive Lewis and others. It aimed to create a “gold standard” of parliamentary legislation for tackling the climate crisis, the MP for Norwich South explained.
They assessed that the proposed legislation “went across government – it was the treasury, it was BEIS, it was defence, it was every component.” Consulting with trade unions, climate movements, NGO’s and a “plethora of organisations,” the redrafted bill was put forward again this month. With social and economic justice at its heart and encompassing “economics, the treasury, the environment, ecology, farming, everything that you would need to do to put our country onto a path dictated by the climate science.”
Highlighting the difference between the government’s vague Net-Zero 2050 plan, he describes it as a “transformative bill rather than tinkering round the edges.”
As a co-founder of the Global Alliance for the Green New Deal, Clive was asked about the coordinated international approach to tackling the climate crisis, through this organisation and others.
The actions needed by the UK ranges from reducing our own emissions to showing leadership to the globe through “debt cancellation” and by providing “new renewable and green technologies to the rest of the world.” But Clive made it clear that the climate crisis must be solved at a global level.
To tackle greenwashing and delay, the Global Alliance for a Green New Deal is taking that gold standard of environmental legislation to legislators around the world. Building links “with a special emphasis of the global south.”
With the battle against global inequality a central focus, Clive explained that and that the top 10% consume as much as the bottom 50%, and that the global south is experiencing the climate crisis first-hand. They need to be involved in the discussion and push for change.
“We’ve got people from Brazil, Bangladesh, Africa, the US,” this is a “fantastic opportunity” to hold world leaders to account who are “talking up the talk of a Green New Deal but not delivering.”
Asked about our own leaders and the failure of Rishi Sunak’s spending review to address the climate, Clive said that “he needs to step up or step away.” The spending announcements were “true to form” from a government incapable of bringing about transformative change on “ideological grounds.”
By ignoring the crisis, he asserted that “the battle lines have been drawn” as Sunak’s budget “blew away any notion this government was serious about tackling the climate crisis.” Taking on the issue of air passenger duty for domestic flights Clive asked, “at what level do you tackle the climate crisis by giving a hand-out to airports?”
With COP26 being hosted in Glasgow, he asserted that the fight cannot be left up to the politicians or institutions already in place, and that at the heart of this crisis and many others is a “crisis of democracy.”
Using the idea of decarbonising the Health Service as an example, he explained that these decisions are increasingly in the “in the hands of corporations” focused on generating profit, not tackling the crisis.
“There is a large degree of trying to sell environmentalism through consumerism, and the two are in many ways incompatible.”
Asked about what climate activists can do to support the ideas and vision of the Green New Deal Bill, and challenge the vested interests blocking the push for change, Clive detailed the need for organising, protest and education.
He also called on activists to make sure their MPs are signed up the Green New Bill, to support environmental movements like Green New Deal Rising, and by organising locally to build a Green New Deal group in their area.
Stressing the need to work together across party lines, and with those who are not politically aligned, he spoke of challenging the crisis of democracy through proportional representation; building demonstrations like those on November 6th outside the COP; and the need for activists to keep campaigning, showing leadership and staying engaged with the Green New Deal movements.
- Clive Lewis is the MP Norwich South, and a co-founder of the Global Alliance for a Green New Deal. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram and twitter.
- You can watch the interview in full here.
- Ask your MP to sign the Green New Deal Bill here, support Green New Deal Rising here, and take action on November 6th here.