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MPs launch ‘Green New Deal’ bill for UK to drive radical action on environment

'This bill sets a timetable that makes government, workers and communities the drivers of change, not the inheritors of chaos'

Josh Gabbatiss
Science Correspondent
Tuesday 26 March 2019 20:26 GMT
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Caroline Lucas and Clive Lewis with Green New Deal bill
Caroline Lucas and Clive Lewis with Green New Deal bill (Caroline Lucas)

MPs have taken the first steps towards a “Green New Deal” for the UK to accelerate efforts to cut emissions while transforming the economy and tackling inequality.

Labour shadow treasury minister Clive Lewis and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas have tabled a private members’ bill that would force the government to enact a sweeping range of green measures.

Their move is broadly inspired by the measures being championed by Democrat representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the US.

It comes after Labour members launched a grassroots campaign to encourage the party to adopt a similar policy.

While the bill is unlikely to make it into law in its current form, its Labour and Green supporters hope to use it to garner cross-party support for more drastic climate action.

Their “radical” plans include measures to invest more in slashing greenhouse gases, introduce stricter environmental regulations and restore natural habitats

“Our climate and our society are in crisis – but our government is failing to act. It is now clear that we need a bold and radical plan to fight the climate crisis at the scale that scientists say is necessary,” said Ms Lucas.

“To do that we need to transform our economy and society at the speed necessary to prevent climate breakdown. We need to do what is required of us – not simply what is seen as politically possible.”

While the draft bill is just a paragraph in length, it calls for “a 10-year economic and public investment strategy that prioritises decarbonisation, community and employee-led transition from high-carbon to low and zero-carbon industry, and the eradication of inequality”.

Like the deal proposed by US Democrats, the UK strategy would focus on providing people with green jobs in a “just transition” away from fossil fuels.

The bill comes in the wake of global school strikes that have seen thousands of children across the country take to the streets to demand climate action.

“The physics is clear. We must cut carbon emissions by 50 per cent, within a decade, to avoid climate breakdown. As climate strikers warn us, the planet will not wait,” said Mr Lewis.

“This bill sets a timetable that makes government, workers and communities the drivers of change, not the inheritors of chaos.”

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Meanwhile government advisers the Committee on Climate Change are set to publish their recommendations on whether the country should adopt a more extreme “net zero” emissions target.

The government has said it will await these findings before updating its policies and goals for tackling climate change.

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