TUC calls for Green Industrial Revolution

Sustainable endogenous development of our economy?

An audacious hope, indeed:

TUC urges Government to follow Barak Obama’s ‘green industrial revolution’
The TUC will today (Tuesday) urge the Government to follow Barak Obama’s lead and launch a ‘green industrial revolution’, as part of a long-term strategy for a more balanced, sustainable economy.

Addressing the annual Crystal lecture at Wolverhampton University, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber will say: ‘While short term measures are needed to minimise the impact of the economic downturn, the Government also needs a long-term strategy to ensure that the UK emerges with a more equal and sustainable economy.

‘We must restore a sense of balance to an economy that has become heavily dependent on the finance industry – and where the South East has overheated while other regions have struggled.

‘At the core of the Government’s strategy should be a green industrial revolution to make our economy more sustainable and competitive in the long term. Investing in areas such as clean coal technology and micro-generation will create jobs and give our manufacturing industry a much-needed boost. It would also help the UK to meet our ambitious target to cut CO2 emissions by 80 per cent by the middle of this century.

‘If this all this sounds like wishful thinking, consider that a key part of Barak Obama’s economic strategy is to create a green industrial revolution. He plans to invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade for renewable energy. He believes this strategy will create five million new jobs in the US.

‘So, just as the US has followed our lead in bank recapitalisation, we should follow their lead by investing in green technology.

‘Our European competitors have already shown that there are jobs and money in green technology. Germany’s renewable energy sector employs half a million people and has a turnover of 24 billion euros. In contrast, the UK employs just 7,000 in renewable energy, generating 360 million euros.

‘We have a lot of catching up to do. But manufacturing heartlands such as the Midlands could benefit enormously from a green industrial revolution.’

Meanwhile, the Greens have launched their Euro 2009 elections campaign with a call for green-collar jobs:

Green MEPs and European candidates from regions across England and Wales joined workers at the London headquarters of solar water heating manufacturer, Genersys, today, to call for ‘Green Jobs Now’.

The Green Party launched its campaign for the 2009 European elections with a series of pledges to create thousands of green-collar jobs in new green industries.

The UK has more than 40% of Europe’s wind resources and, off our shores, marine energy from waves and tides could generate up to 20% of our electricity. The Green Party claims that, like Germany, we should already have created more than 250,000 jobs in renewable energy.

However, our failure to develop this industry means we are lagging behind, with only 26,000 green energy jobs at most.

Many thousands more jobs could also be created in recycling and repairing goods and in local food production. Add an effective programme of insulation and energy efficiency and the total number of jobs would increase even further. In England alone there are more than nine million homes with unfilled cavity walls.

The plans are part of a Green New Deal that will focus European institutions on creating a millions of new green jobs, energy security and a stronger, more resilient economy.

The six key Green New Deal pledges aimed at creating green jobs are:

  • Provide free insulation for everyone, using energy company profits to cut bills and create jobs
  • End subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear, and use the money to build world-class green energy industries
  • Train the workforce we need, with a strategic approach to providing new training places for the green industries of the future.
  • End soft touch regulation on polluting power stations and give the renewables industry the break it needs
  • Regulate big banking to stabilise the financial system, and close the loopholes that allow tax havens to operate.
  • Transform rules on procurement to help schools and hospitals buy from local producers.

The Green Party aims to double its number of MEPs in next June’s European Elections. These are held under proportional representation rules, which means that every vote counts and can help elect new Green MEPs. Voting takes place across ten regions in England and Wales (and one each in Scotland and Northern Ireland) and there are currently two Green MEPs – for the South East and London.

Caroline Lucas, Green Party Leader and MEP for the South East, said:

“Green MEPs are some of the most effective in the European Parliament and our pledges today show how serious we are about increasing our numbers and getting even more done after the European elections next June.

“Europe faces not just an economic crisis, but an accelerating climate crisis too. We need secure jobs and we need new green industries. Greens will help build up both with their Green New Deal for Europe – a major, Europe-wide investment in good green jobs, combined with the re-regulation of big finance.

“We can make Britain the green jobs capital of Europe with these plans, making the transition away from fossil fuels, creating thriving new industries and helping pull ourselves out of economic crisis at the same time.”

Jean Lambert, Green MEP for London, has recently published a key report on the skills gap for green industries in Europe, and on the wider issues surrounding green work. She said:

“Getting a Green New Deal right in Europe will depend on addressing the green skills gap. An ambitious European-level green skills and jobs programme has never been more urgent and will only be achieved with public investment and planning.

“We will not be able to deliver on climate change targets unless we have an appropriately skilled workforce. The greenest job of all will be making it happen, and that’s what Green MEPs are pledging they will do today.”

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