The Pre-Budget Announcement and the Environment
It's pre-budget announcement day, and there is already a lot of talk about the details and how Labour's plans to reinvigorate the economy are going to shake out. As I tumbled out of bed this morning Radio 4 was discussing the impact this announcement will have on the next election - it could make or break the Labour party.
While most of the talk focuses on the immediate global financial crisis, we also need to look at long term investment that will ensure a better quality of life in the long run and a healthy planet. The urgency of the financial crisis is no excuse for neglecting action on climate change.
In fact, the solution to our financial crisis is also an opportunity to secure a sustainable and efficient energy system.
Four of our campaigners have scaled the Bank of England this morning ahead of the Chancellor's pre-budget report to highlight this and the need for innovative thinking to tackle both issues.
The hottest growth industry in the world just now is renewable energy. That's where jobs of the future are already being created, and where much of the technological innovation is taking place that will usher in our next era of economic transformation.
Scientists agree. To address climate change, we need an energy revolution, a wholesale change in how we power our societies while there is still time for such measures to be effective.
First, Gordon Brown should offer large-scale investment in incentives for clean energy production and storage using 21st century technologies, such as solar and wind power and combined heat and power.
Secondly, the government needs to replace our worn-out electricity grid and should begin the planning and construction of an energy distribution system fit for the 21st century. That means good energy storage, allowing feed-in from microgeneration, super grid connection to mainland Europe, and ‘smart’ delivery features that provide consumers with sophisticated information and easy-to-use tools for conserving electricity, eliminating inefficiency and reducing their energy bills.
Third, the government needs to support low carbon transport. We need fuel efficient cars, plug in hybrid cars, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, high speed rail, buses, and more investment in communications technology such as video conferencing so there is less need to travel, especially for business.
Fourth, we need to make our homes, offices and appliances more energy efficient. The government needs to embark on a nationwide effort to retrofit commercial buildings and homes to make them more energy efficient, including insulation, double glazing, energy efficient lighting, energy efficient appliances, microgeneration.
Fifth, the Chancellor should establish a 'Green Investment Bank' providing attractive financing including seed capital, loan guarantees, loans, tax credits and bond underwriting to scale up Britain’s green industry and green infrastructure, providing huge export opportunities.
What we need is a political party with the resolve to put long-term investment ahead of short-term interests.
Today's announcement is an important indication of the action this government will take on climate change, but with six months to go until the budget, we'd like to hear what you think is needed to kick start the economy and tackle climate change. Please visit the Greenpeace website and leave a comment to join the discussion.
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