Even our Parliament agrees – we are facing a Climate Emergency.
This has been long understood by the communities on the frontlines of climate impacts around the world. But while our national politicians say they are waking up to the urgency of the situation, we still aren’t seeing the political action needed to actually match the scale of the crisis.
In fact, our politicians continue to miss their own (totally inadequate) climate targets, and bend over backwards to keep supporting the fossil fuel industry – all while staking a claim to ‘climate leadership.’
We’re told that we can’t have a safe climate and an economy that works for people. We’re told to be ‘realistic’, to lower our ambitions for what can be achieved. But there is nothing pragmatic about ignoring the threat of climate change. The only realistic plan is one ambitious enough to match the scale of the crisis, and to transform our society for the better in the process.
The time has come for a real plan in the UK; it’s time for a Green New Deal.
The Green New Deal is a plan to transform our economy, secure a liveable climate, and build a more just society in the process.
Our vision for a Green New Deal in the UK is one where our economy and society is transformed. Where our government invests in building good jobs, quality housing, public services, and affordable energy for all. Where the communities worst impacted by poverty, pollution and inequality take back power, and are at the forefront of the transformation.
It is a vision where, as a nation, we own our responsibility for the climate crisis on the global stage. The UK was at the centre of the industrial revolution, and of an exploitative empire that has driven global inequality. And today, we are still home to many of the biggest fossil fuel companies and banks that are fuelling the climate crisis.
A Green New Deal means taking this on, demanding justice for communities in the Global South already feeling the devastating impacts of climate change, and making sure the fossil fuel industry is held responsible for trashing our shared home.
There are three key pillars to our plan for a Green New Deal:
- Public investment to transform the economy – creating good jobs, quality housing and services, and affordable energy for all.
- End the age of fossil fuels – stop digging, stop drilling, stop polluting.
- Fund the global transition – stop money pouring into fossil fuel projects around the world, and redirect it to fund a fair transition.
These pillars aren’t a manifesto, and they’re not a comprehensive policy platform. They’re also not silver bullet solutions to all our problems. What they are is a rallying cry for action from our government that meets the demands of both climate science and justice.
We can’t sit back and rely on politicians or corporations to deliver the massive change we need by themselves. It is up to us to build a movement that can shift the balance of power, and to force political action at every level.
The success or failure of the Green New Deal rests on the movement we build. We’re facing up against the forces of political hostility and the wealth of terrified fossil fuel billionaires, so we better be ready.
Our power will come from building a broad alliance of people that is multi-racial, cross-class, and that centres the communities most impacted by this crisis. We must break down the barriers too often used to divide us, and show that real climate action will create a better society for everyone.
We think that young people should be leading this movement. More than any other generation, they have less to lose and everything to gain from transforming our society and planet. That’s why our plans over the coming months will focus on building their power and voices.
Over the summer, we will train and mentor a new group of young leaders to work for a Green New Deal in their communities. We will also work to bring thousands of people out on the streets to join the Global Climate Strike and launch our call for a Green New Deal in September.
Ellen and Anna, 350.org UK team