Another busy week for the Green New Deal as Japan announces plans to create “millions” of jobs in the green technology sector. Environment Minister Tetsuo Saito told reporters that he had received orders from Japan’s Prime Minister to “draft a Green New Deal plan”. More on this at Bloomberg.
In the US, Barack Obama has given his first public address after being elected in November. Last Thursday he revealed some of his plans to help the ailing American economy, including several hints of a Green New Deal:
“To finally spark the creation of a clean energy economy, we will double the production of alternative energy in the next three years. We will modernize more than 75% of federal buildings and improve the energy efficiency of two million American homes, saving consumers and taxpayers billions on our energy bills. In the process, we will put Americans to work in new jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced – jobs building solar panels and wind turbines; constructing fuel-efficient cars and buildings; and developing the new energy technologies that will lead to even more jobs, more savings, and a cleaner, safer planet in the bargain.”
Closer to home, some founder members of the Green New Deal Group had a letter in the Guardian last week about the inadequacy of Gordon Brown’s action on green jobs thus far. And today, leading environmentalists – including nef‘s Andrew Simms – have accused the government of destroying thousands of job opportunities by failing to support low carbon technology with subsidies.
The reality is that action on climate change is crucial if we are to weather the recession. A report published by nef today on behalf of a new coalition of environment and social justice NGOs argues that substantial green investment would combat the downturn and lift thousands of people in the UK out of poverty. The poorest people in this country will suffer hardest from the effects of climate change, such as heatwaves and flooding. But if we take intelligent action now to cut our carbon emissions, there could be benefits to people on low-incomes. Re-skilling for green jobs would tackle unemployment, home insulation programmes would fight fuel poverty, and improvements to low-carbon public transport would help those without cars.
The report, Tackling Climate Change, Reducing Poverty is available to download for free from the nef website.