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A LABOUR government will make Britain the first country to reveal the extent of “imported” carbon emissions as well as those produced domestically, Jeremy Corbyn pledged today.
The Labour leader said that it would disclose for the first time the “true impact” on the climate of Britain’s emissions.
Currently, only greenhouse gases generated by goods and services produced within the country are measured. These levels have reduced, but statistics ignore the emissions generated from imported goods — which he says have “barely changed” in 20 years.
The result is that Britain effectively “offshoring” its emissions to the rest of the world, Mr Corbyn said at Labour’s international social forum in London today.
China, the US, EU nations, India and Russia are listed as the five top places with the highest greenhouse gas emissions.
Mr Corbyn added: “That isn’t tackling global emissions — it is passing the buck to poorer countries.
“It’s time we were honest about our contribution to the climate crisis. It is even greater than we think.
“So under Labour, Britain will become the first major economy in the world to measure these consumption emissions and take action to reduce them.”
Labour is seeking to amend the Climate Change Act to instruct the Committee on Climate Change to include an assessment of Britain’s “total footprint emissions” in its annual report to Parliament, with recommendations to reduce them.
“We shouldn’t see this as a burden. Offshoring our emissions isn’t just bad for the climate, it’s bad for British industry,” Mr Corbyn added.
“When we measure the emissions from goods produced in Britain but not those produced overseas, it puts industry here, especially energy-intensive industries like steel, at a disadvantage.
“So we will remove the perverse incentive to damage our own economy with no benefit to the climate.
“And we will send financial and technical support to the developing world, helping them adopt greener methods of production and reducing the carbon content of the goods we import.”
His pledge comes after he vowed to invest billions of pounds in his party’s plan for a green industrial revolution, which Labour hopes will help close the north-south divide by basing a vast majority of up to 400,000 new jobs in the north of England.
On Saturday at the same event, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said that developing countries should be included in the tackling of global climate change and excessive powers held by corporations.
He pledged that a Labour government would look into setting up a new body called a “global economic co-ordination council” to reform the international monetary and financial system as a globally representative forum to replace the G20.
Mr McDonnell had blamed the World Trade Organisation, IMF and the World Bank for “diminishing people power” globally and silencing the voices of developing countries in the global South.
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