“Rishi Sunak’s negligence will cost thousands of lives around the world and cause irreparable harm to our planet. We need a real alternative that takes on the fossil fuel industry, transforms our economy and secures a Green New Deal.”Jeremy Corbyn MP
By Sam Browse
Yesterday, Rishi Sunak announced he would be reversing plans to tackle the climate crisis, including a roll back on plans to phase out petrol and diesel cars, ditch energy efficiency retrofitting measures, and upgrade gas boilers to heat pumps.
Attempting to pit action to tackle the climate emergency against the rising cost of living, he said that ‘governments had not been honest about the costs and trade offs’.
The announcement comes only months after a damning Climate Change Committee report that said the government had gone backwards on action to tackle the climate emergency, and that it was not on track to meet Paris Agreement targets.
The climbdown prompted a flash demonstration from the campaign group, Green New Deal Rising, who said “Watering down net-zero is not just short-sighted. It’s an attack on families, the poorest in society and communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis.”
“The longer we delay the transition to a low-carbon economy, the harder things will become.”
Left MPs slammed the decision.
Beth Winter, the MP for Cynon Valley, said “We do not inherit the world, we borrow it from our children. Fossil fuels are destroying our planet.”
“By scrapping already modest climate commitments, Sunak is taking us closer to an unliveable world.”
The MP for Streatham, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, joined her, saying “UK households paid an extra £2.5bn on energy bills last year because the Tories “cut the green crap” & doubled down on fossil fuels.”
“We don’t need more Tory false economies. We need to recognise tackling the cost of living crisis means tackling the climate crisis.”
Richard Burgon also pointed to the shortsightedness of the decision: “The Prime Minister is being deliberately dishonest.”
‘You don’t meet Net Zero by 2050 by abandoning the steps needed to get there.
‘This speech repeats the Tory errors of the past. It will mean higher energy bills, make us less energy secure and cost us 1000s of good green jobs.”
Responding to a leak of the u-turn, hours before the announcement, Olivia Blake, the MP for Sheffield Hallam, said “they want us to think it’s a choice between taking climate action or saving people money. They’re wrong.”
‘A just transition means polluters pay – not the people. Instead of scrapping climate policy we must tax the profits of energy giants to fund a transformative Green New Deal.
‘Instead of scrapping climate policy we must tax the profits of energy giants to fund a transformative Green New Deal.”
She was joined in calling for a Green New Deal by Jeremy Corbyn, who said “Climate delay is climate denial.”
“Rishi Sunak’s negligence will cost thousands of lives around the world and cause irreparable harm to our planet. We need a real alternative that takes on the fossil fuel industry, transforms our economy and secures a Green New Deal.”
The National Education Union joined the chorus of condemnation, tweeting “The Prime Minister’s announcement to weaken the Government’s Net Zero Strategy is shocking and will be devastating for our members and even more so for the children we teach. It will do nothing to ensure the sustainability of education.”
Sunak is attempting to turn action on the climate crisis into a key electoral dividing line and to polarise the debate between spending on the climate crisis or spending on the cost of living crisis. The strategy plays into the culture war narratives of some of the most reactionary members of the Tory backbenches – a narrative that should be completely opposed.
A just transition to net-zero isn’t a distraction from the cost of living crisis; it’s the answer to it. Instead of climate climb downs, we need massive investment in green infrastructure, good, well-paid green jobs, and cheaper renewables – funded by taxes on the wealthy and the energy giants . The real choice is simple: it’s time to put people and planet before profits and polluters.
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