I was pleased to see the Guardian reporting that:
Labour is drawing up ambitious proposals to rescue the post-coronavirus economy with a radical green recovery plan focused on helping young people who lose their jobs by retraining them in green industries.
Seeking to seize the initiative on the country’s future direction once the pandemic abates, Ed Miliband, the shadow business secretary, has called for the plans to include creating a “zero-carbon army of young people” doing work such as planting trees, insulating buildings and working on green technologies.
As the old saying goes, eventually they agree with you. The idea of a 'carbon army' was created by Colin Hines and was kept alive for much for eh period 2010 to 2018 by his letters to the Guardian and my commentary here. The first reference I can find to us using the term was in 2008. This is from February 2009:
The Green New Deal calls for:
- Massive investment in renewable energy and wider environmental transformation in the UK, leading to,
- The creation of thousands of new green collar jobs
- Reining in reckless aspects of the finance sector - but making low-cost capital available to fund the UK's green economic shift
- Building a new alliance between environmentalists, industry, agriculture, and unions to put the interests of the real economy ahead of those of footloose finance
It recognises that:
The global economy is facing a 'triple crunch': a combination of a credit-fuelled financial crisis, accelerating climate change and soaring energy prices underpinned by encroaching peak oil. It is increasingly clear that these three overlapping events threaten to develop into a perfect storm, the like of which has not been seen since the Great Depression, with potentially devastating consequences.
And it calls for:
- a bold new vision for a low-carbon energy system that will include making 'every building a power station'.
- the creation and training of a 'carbon army' of workers to provide the human resources for a vast environmental reconstruction programme.
- the establishment of new savings media to pay for the transition to a low-carbon economy.
- more realistic fossil fuel prices.
- minimising corporate tax evasion by clamping down on tax havens and by promoting better corporate financial reporting.
- re-regulating the domestic financial system.
- breaking up the discredited financial institutions.
This is an ambitious agenda. It's what we need.
I highlight the particular phrase that resonates this morning. But so does this, again from the Guardian:
This could also involve retraining older people, Miliband said, saying that there should be an ambition to “leave no worker behind” in any transition towards a different economy.
He added: “But we know that the longer young people stay out of work, the more it blights their future prospects. We need a sort of zero-carbon army of young people doing the things that we know we need to do anyway.
“My first priority would be to say to young people, ‘We’re going to find you fulfilling, decently paid work which is going to make a contribution to this absolutely vital cause that we face.’ I think that’s step one in the emergency.”
This was always the objective of the Green New Deal.
We missed out in 2009.
We cannot do so this time, surely?