Independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) Report Published Calling on UK Government To End its Contribution to Global Warming with New Target of Net Zero Emissions by 2050:
This is a report from the Trade Union led “Greener Jobs Alliance”, supported by the CWU, following important recent environmental developments.
Firstly, the UK Parliament passed a motion declaring a Climate Emergency and the ‘Committee on Climate Change’ has endorsed calls for a just transition as part of accelerating the move to a zero carbon economy.
The following report from the GLA gives the background on this and calls for commitments to engage with the trade union movement if the massive economic changes being proposed are going to get buy-in from workers.
On 2 May the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has told the government that the UK must end its contribution to global warming with a new target of net zero emissions by 2050, and for the first time ever in an official report, the government has been told to deliver a Just Transition for workers and their communities.
The 2050 target date for zero emissions will disappoint many demonstrating across the UK. But the Committee’s call for a Just Transition across many sectors of the economy looks very much like a new industrial strategy for a Zero Carbon Britain. The Greener Jobs Alliance has now called for the government to reinforce this message by setting up a Just Transition Advisory Group, with union representation from the industrial, energy, public and voluntary sectors.
On Mayday evening, before the CCC’s report was published, thousands gathered in Parliament Square as MPs debated Labour’s Climate Emergencydeclaration. Speaking from the top of the FBU’s own fire engine, Matt Wrack, General Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said firefighters the world over were on the frontline, fighting the fire and flood impacts of climate change.
Both Caroline Lucas MP and Aaron Kiely from FoE (a member of the GJA steering group) called for a Just Transition for workers in a Zero Carbon Britain.
The new report doesn’t set the 2025 date for Zero Carbon Britain that Extinction Rebellion demands, https://rebellion.earth/act-now/events/news/ but one government adviser said, ‘Make no mistake, this report will change your life.’ Transformations will spread across all sections of society, from the way we work and what we produce, to how we power our homes, travel to work, what we eat and how we farm.
A ‘net-zero’ target meets the UK’s commitment under the Paris Agreement – the pact which the UK and the rest of the world signed in 2015 to curb dramatically the polluting gases that cause climate change. It’s just that many now argue the target date is too far off.
For the first time in an official report, the government is told to deliver a Just Transition for workers and their communities, quote: the Government should ensure that the overall transition is perceived as fair, and that vulnerable workers and consumers are protected. That means Treasury support. It must include analysis at the regional level and for specific industrial sectors. Scotland has already appointed an independent Just Transition Commission. The UK government should do the same.
A whole section of the report at last acknowledges what the GJA and others have been saying for years: ‘There is potential for more jobs in some areas, and a decline in jobs in others. Employment needs may change in terms of location and skills.’ Maybe a fifth of all jobs in regions like Yorkshire and the Humber are affected, with their reliance on heavy industry and fossil fuels.
In the pages of this report, are the outlines of a new industrial strategy for a Zero Carbon Britain:
- Up to one in five jobs across the UK will be affected by a Zero Carbon Britain strategy.
- Major moves away from fossil fuels – with job losses across oil and gas extraction, power and heating industries, as well as job losses in supply chains for these sectors.
- Some gas fired power stations could be needed, but they will need to run using hydrogen or Carbon Capture & Storage. All coal-fired stations close.
- Huge job growth is expected in sectors like renewables, electric vehicles, home insulation and domestic heating.
- Employment in offshore wind, for example, is predicted to quadruple to 27,000 jobs by 2030. The big prize comes when all three main parts of a wind turbine – the tower, the cell at the top and the blades – are made in the UK. The UK is currently a big importer of renewable technology. The UK has to develop full supply chains across the renewable energy sector.
- By 2025 at the latest all new cars and vans should be electric, or use a low- carbon alternative such as hydrogen. The automotive industry must transition to electric vehicles, with major implications for jobs, skills and investment.
- No new homes should be connected to the gas grid after 2025.
- Retrofitting homes with energy efficiency measures and installing low-carbon heat into new and existing homes will require new skills. This programme could generate many more high-skilled jobs in the installation and construction industries.
The Committee warns that a just transition is essential:
If the impact of the move to net-zero emissions on employment and cost of living is not addressed and managed, and if those most affected are not engaged in the debate, there is a significant risk that there will be resistance to change, which could lead the transition to stall.
The GJA concludes that if the committee intends to heed this warning, it should set up a Just Transition Advisory Group, with union representation from across the labour movements’ industrial, energy, public services and voluntary sectors. The Committee already has three expert advisory groups on technology, international affairs and cost-benefits.
The CCC has acknowledged a TUC input to the study. However, the absence of a strategic advisory role for unions in the work of the Committee is no longer tenable.
The Committee on Climate Change report is available at this Link:
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