General Election 2019: Greens to pledge zero by carbon by 2030 in manifesto

Green Party

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PA Media

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The England and Wales Green Party is led by Jonathan Bartley and Sian Berry

The Green Party of England and Wales will launch its election manifesto later with a pledge to reach net zero carbon emissions in the UK by 2030.

The party says it would invest £100bn a year by 2030 as part of a “green new deal” to tackle climate change – to be mainly paid for by borrowing.

The party will also pledge to increase NHS funding, hold a Brexit referendum and extend voting to 16-year-olds.

The party is standing in 369 out of 650 seats in the UK.

Co-leader Sian Berry will promise to “hit the ground running,” at the launce of the party’s manifesto, because “the future won’t give us another chance to get these next two years right”.

Brighton MP Caroline Lucas remains the party’s only MP, but the Greens have had more success in the European Parliament, where they currently have seven MEPs.

The party is stepping aside in 50 seats across England and Wales to make way for the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru, as part of the “Unite to Remain” agreement.

In exchange the Lib Dems will not compete with the Greens in nine seats, including the Isle of Wight, Bristol West, Exeter and Brighton Pavilion.

The general election takes place on 12 December.

What is in the Green Party’s manifesto?

The Green Party’s manifesto, which will be launched in south-west London on Tuesday, sets out 10 pieces of legislation the party would introduce if elected into government, including:

  • The Green New Deal Bill to “get the UK on track to reducing climate emissions to net zero by 2030”
  • The People’s Vote Bill to implement a public vote on “the future of our relationship with the European Union”
  • The Future Generations Bill which would “require public bodies… to balance the needs of the present with the needs of the future”
  • The NHS Reinstatement Bill to increase funding for the NHS by at least £6bn per year, until 2030
  • The Universal Basic Income Bill, introducing unconditional payments for everyone “above their subsistence needs”

The party proposes borrowing £91.2bn a year to pay for capital expenditure. A further £9bn would be raised through tax changes including increasing corporation tax to 24%.

The manifesto also includes promises to build 100,000 new zero carbon homes for social rent each year, introduce a proportional representation voting system and extend votes to 16 and 17-year-olds.

Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party in England and Wales praised the manifesto, describing it as “the most ambitious Green new deal proposed anywhere in the world”.

“While the other parties are trying to catch up, we’re still racing ahead, reaching new horizons,” he said.


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AFP/ Getty Images

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In October the Extinction Rebellion group held protests calling for governments to drastically cut carbon emissions

By BBC Political Correspondent Tom Barton

Try not to get too confused. The Greens aren’t the only party promising a Green New Deal at this election.

Labour agreed to something with the same name at its party conference earlier this year.

But there’s no doubt what the Green Party will propose today is going to be far more ambitious.

£100bn every year for 10 years – or to put it more boldly, £1tn over 10 years – to fight climate change and give the UK a zero-carbon economy by 2030.

The questions though, are big: even with that level of investment, how realistic is it to completely decarbonise the UK within a decade?

Do the Greens want to see every petrol and diesel car off the road? Heavy industry operating with net zero emissions?

Can carbon capture and storage technology, or sufficient renewable energy capacity, be developed in time?

But after a year which has seen activism on climate change, be it school strikes or Extinction Rebellion, grabbing the headlines, the Green Party thinks the time is right for what it is calling the “climate election”.

What are the other parties offering on the environment?

The Lib Dems are promising to spend £100bn over five years to tackle the effects of climate change.

Delegates at the Labour Party’s conference approved a motion calling for zero net emissions by 2030.

But it remains to be seen how firm this target will be in the party’s manifesto, due to be unveiled later this week.

Shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner told BBC Radio 4’s programme Labour was committed to “a net zero economy well before 2050”.

Labour is also proposing to insulate 27 million households, which it says would cut UK carbon emissions by 10% by 2030.

The Conservatives have said they want to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, while the SNP says it wants a 100% reduction in emissions as soon as possible.

The Conservatives, Lib Dems and the Brexit Party have all pledged to plant millions of trees over the coming years.

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