The proposal is due to be outlined on Wednesday by Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary. Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian
Labour is to set out how the UK can move swiftly to a decarbonised future to tackle the unfolding climate crisis and put “meat on the bones” of its promise to create hundreds of thousands of high-skilled, unionised green jobs.
Trade unionists and industry leaders will come together with academics, engineers and public institutions to build detailed regional plans setting out the challenges and opportunities ahead.
The proposal, due to be outlined on Wednesday by Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, will involve a national call for evidence and a series of regional events to build “a detailed action plan” to maximise the benefits of moving to a zero-carbon future.
“A decade of austerity and decades of neoliberalism have left many in our country asking: what is Britain for?” Long-Bailey told the Guardian. “This has been brought into focus by the government’s handling of Brexit, which is at its core deeply pessimistic, with nothing to say about the future.”
She said a future Labour government would oversee an economic revolution to tackle the climate crisis, using the full power of the state to decarbonise the economy and create hundreds of thousands of green jobs in struggling towns and cities across the UK.
“We believe that together, we can transform the UK through a green jobs revolution, tackling the environmental crisis in a way that brings hope and prosperity back to parts of the UK that have been held back for too long.”
Last year a UN report said there were only 12 years left to avoid the worst impacts of climate breakdown. And this week a report said insects were facing extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, and another said climate change posed a “systemic risk” to the economy and society.
Long-Bailey said Labour was determined to move beyond rhetoric about a green revolution and work out exactly how that could be achieved, and how it could translate to new well-paid, unionised jobs across the UK.
“We’re launching an unprecedented call for evidence about what this means for your town, your city, your region,” she said. “We want to bring unions, industry, universities, the public sector and others together to build this vision out into a practical reality.”
Labour says a key plank of its plan will be to ensure a “just transition” to high quality green jobs for those currently working in carbon-emitting industries. To do that it will have to persuade its trade union backers, who represent people in high-carbon industries, that there is a viable economic alternative.
The party hopes that once the evidence has been collected it will form the basis of a green paper to be published in autumn 2019 at party conference, with plans for how each region might move to a decarbonised future.
Long-Bailey told the Guardian last year that the climate crisis was “incredibly dangerous” and said the UK’s entire society and economy needed to be refocused to meet the looming challenge.
She said Tuesday’s announcement was a key step to realising that ambition. “This is not a blithe promise,” she said. “This is about the jobs at the end of your road. From the Clyde to the Humber to the Mersey. This about our future.”