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Vote Labour for the climate

Get the word out: the Tories don’t care about you or the planet, writes LAUREN TOWNSEND

JUST days after sparking outrage for recruiting a fracking lobbyist to help write their 2019 manifesto, the Conservatives were caught in a fake-environmentalism scandal yet again. Announcing a “ban” on fracking, they were later forced to admit the “ban” would only be temporary, with Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom calling the suspension a “disappointment.” Jeremy Corbyn has branded the announcement an “election stunt” and confirmed that Labour’s ban on fracking would mean an actual ban.

Historically, the Tories have received much more in terms of donations and gifts from fossil fuel companies than any other party. Getting into bed with bandit corporations and the wealthy few who control them is well within their comfort zone. Let us not forget the current Prime Minister’s horrific personal track record on the environment — this is a man who has previously lobbied to relax air pollution laws and claimed that no stone would be left “unfracked” during his time as mayor of London.

Only Labour will prioritise people and the planet, with a plan to put Britain on a fast path to zero-carbon energy, while boosting the economy at the same time. Only Labour will create jobs, protect the environment and tackle the climate crisis head on.

Labour’s “Warm Homes for All” plan, announced on Sunday, will create 450,000 jobs by installing energy-saving measures such as loft insulation and double glazing and renewable and low carbon technologies — in almost all of Britain’s 27 million homes. The largest scale upgrade of British housing seen in this country since post-war reconstruction.

Then there is the promise of mass investment in renewable energy — including enough solar panels to cover 22,000 football pitches, the installation of eight million electric heat pumps, 7,000 offshore wind turbines and 2,000 onshore wind turbines — creating yet more jobs and moving us away from fossil-fuel-intensive energy sources.

In compiling Labour’s newly released “Thirty recommendations by 2030” paper, a panel of experts have agreed that not only are these recommendations technically feasible, but also that they are necessary and appropriate considering the scale of the climate emergency we currently find ourselves in.

Labour has always led the way on the environmental and climate emergency here in Britain. It was only after significant pressure from the party earlier this year that our Parliament became the first in the world to declare a climate and ecological emergency.

If the climate emergency isn’t already at the top of your priority list for this election, it should be. Scientists have warned governments of rising sea levels which will see coastal towns across Britain disappear, have described global famine and disease as an inevitability and predict that the threat of war, as resources become scant, will become increasingly real.

If that in itself is not enough to convince you that this is the true crisis of our time, there will also be financial implications to deal with. The governor of the Bank of England has warned of financial collapse linked to the climate emergency, predicting that companies and industries who do not makes moves towards zero-carbon emissions will be punished by investors and risk bankruptcy as a result.

Labour is the only party pushing a green agenda that will truly transform our society and economy, for millions of working-class people across the country. Renationalisation of rail, energy and water will cut household bills and commuter costs, while ensuring services are reliable and well-run. Investment in public transport infrastructure and ensuring that all new homes are built to the highest possible eco-standards will also form part of the plans.

It is important that all of us out campaigning for Labour in this election share these incredible policies on the doorstep and via social media. Already we are seeing members, activists and supporters mobilising on a scale unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Just this past weekend, before we’ve even entered the official election period, we are seeing hundreds and thousands of people out campaigning, in numbers similar to what we were seeing by polling day in 2017.

People want change, they are hungry for it. Ten years under the Conservatives has taken a very real toll – on our public services, on working people and on the environment. This is our moment, a once in a generation chance to implement a socialist government that not only cares and has the ambition to drive real change, but one that has carefully thought through and costed its plans for a brighter future. One that defends our planet, that protects our people, and that will redistribute wealth and power to allow us all to hope and prosper once again.

Read Labour’s “Thirty by 2030” paper here.

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