Almost five years after the collapse of bank Lehman Brothers, a group of environmental campaigners and economists has set out its National Plan for the UK economy.
The Green New Deal Group has set out a plan that it says would shift the nation from the politics of austerity to the age of the ‘Green New Deal’.
Among its vision, the group wishes to:
- Reduce waste and transform material use – it wants to see investment in resource recovery and waste treatment and quotes a SITA UK statistic that this could create 84,000 new jobs
- Put in place a nationwide project to make every building in the country energy efficient and build hundreds of thousands of new, affordable, sustainably-sited, energy efficient homes
- Realise the huge job creation potential in renewable energy – according to the Centre for Alternative Technology the job creation potential of renewable energy is 1.5 million jobs
- Cancel HS2 rail project and make improvements to the existing railway network and create new urban cycle networks.
The Green New Deal Group includes Green MP Caroline Lucas, tax-expert Richard Murphy, economist Ann Pettifor, oil-expert Jeremy Leggett, Guardian economics editor Larry Elliott and economist and environmentalist Andrew Simms.
Caroline Lucas said: “There is huge, and as yet untapped, potential in renewable energy, energy and resource-use efficiency and the transformation of our transport system would create high-quality jobs across the country and reduce the UK’s overall ecological impact.
“If we are serious about staying below 2C warming, as we have legal obligations to do, then to invest in a destructive dash for gas, when there is a Green New Deal on the table borders on criminal negligence by my Parliamentary colleagues.”
Andrew Simms added: “The Green New Deal represents an economic detox diet to correct the consequences of the worst current financial, workplace and environmental abuses.”
In order to fund it aims, it calls for a crackdown on tax evasion and avoidance, controls to ensure that banks that were baled out by the taxpayer also invest in the Green New Deal at low and sustainable rates of interest, a form of Green Quantitative Easing so that funding is targeted at green infrastructure and housing, buying out PFI schemes using Green QE, and encouragement of pension funds and institutional investors to back the Green New Deal.