Labour government will work towards a net-zero carbon emissions target by 2030

Nicola Bartlett

This article originally appeared in The Mirror


Labour have committed to work towards a net-zero carbon emissions target by 2030.

The ambitious plan won a vote at the party's annual conference after days of divisive debates over the target.

The "Labour's Socialist Green New Deal" motion calls for the party to work towards a net-zero target for carbon emissions by 2030.

The GMB union, one of the three largest who are affiliated to Labour , have consistently opposed the 2030 target throughout the conference which began on Saturday afternoon.

Instead they want to see a less ambitious target because of concerns about potential job losses without a plan in place to adapt heavy industry.

But after the original plan for ‘zero’ emissions rather than ‘net zero’ has been watered down it won the backing of Unite the union and shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey.

Apart from the GMB the other unions joined grassroots Momentum activists to vote in favour.

Labour had already forced the government to commit to net zero emissions by 2050 in parliament earlier today.

(Image: Adam Gerrard / Daily Mirror)

The target date divided delegates in meetings at the conference with two long sessions ending in stalemate and producing two different motions.

Rebecca Long-Bailey said: “The importance of the 2030 date is because the panel on international climate change have said we have got 11 years to act... We’ve got to act faster, and we’ve got to push people to do that.”

But GMB general secretary Tim Roache said the 2030 target was “utterly unachievable”, lacked credibility and threatened communities that relied on jobs in energy intensive industries.

Momentum chief Laura Parker said: “We’re delighted that the Momentum-backed Green New Deal has been endorsed by Labour.

“Our party has united around a bold, socialist Green New Deal that will create tens of thousands of good, green jobs across the country, usher in a new era of public luxury for all and welcome climate refugees who have been forced from their homes.”

A separate motion which called for a "Green New Deal" that does not make reference to any dates for decarbonisation was also passed on the conference floor and backed by the GMB.

But the newly-agreed target was seen as ambitious even by green campaigners.

John Sauven, Executive Director of Greenpeace UK, said: “Net zero by 2030 will be extremely difficult, but it may the right date to aim for. If it can be done, it should be, and if it can’t, then missing the target by a few years, or even a decade, is still a far better outcome than hitting the government’s 2050 target, which is dangerously late.”