GREEN NEW DEAL – AN OPPORTUNITY TO SEIZE THE TIME

Mike Downham notes the publication of the Scottish Green Party’s proposals for a Green New Deal and the need to step up the action on climate at this time of political and constitutional crisis.

On the same day that the Government announced the proroguing of parliament, the Scottish Greens launched their proposals for a Green New Deal. Climate change remains the most urgent of all the issues pressing down on us, and the Green New Deal initiative gives us a concrete opportunity to flex our muscles in the new context of Westminster collapse.

So the people have finally had enough of this UK Government. Its decision to trash democracy left a governing vacuum. Yesterday’s broad-based and widespread protests shows the potential to fill that vacuum and take control. Kicked off by the proroguing of parliament, the protests have escalated to articulate anger against austerity cuts, privatisation and the whole political position of the Tory Party.

The Scottish Greens give this summary of their proposals:

Scotland can

  • Redirect massive investment into low carbon industries
  • Grow a world-leading low carbon manufacturing sector
  • Restore our natural environment
  • Give everyone a warm home
  • And provide access to cheap, reliable and green transport.

But to do this we have to ditch neoliberal economics for good.

At the heart of a Scottish Green New Deal is a belief that the Scottish Government can and must take a direct role, working in partnership with citizens, communities, and companies to deliver the change Scotland and the planet so urgently needs.

Rather than pick holes in these proposals, we can build on them by making three immediate demands. Demands which are focussed, achievable and directly address key desperate needs of working-class people – fuel poverty, poverty in general, and the need for jobs which are properly rewarded, secure and satisfying.

The three demands emerge naturally from the climate movement’s in-depth work over recent years:

  1. We demand a just transition from North Sea oil and gas to renewable energy, starting immediately with the phasing out of North Sea oil and gas extraction, as recommended in the Sea Change report co-authored by Friends of the Earth Scotland, Oil Change International and Platform (2019).
  2. We demand an immediate programme for the insulation and draught-proofing of all homes, public buildings and businesses, as recommended in the One Million Climate Jobs booklet produced by the Campaign Against Climate Change (2014).
  3. We demand an immediate nationwide Free Public Transport system, as argued for by the Scottish Socialist Party since 2007, and now by the Scottish Greens (2019)

We will make it clear that we won’t take no for an answer, confident in the new-found breadth of the movement for democracy and for a break with the Economy of Madness and the Politics of Division.

Green New Deal

Image by Bart Everson, CC BY 2.0 https://www.flickr.com/photos/editor/32447100627

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