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Tories' net-zero carbon plans lack ambition and urgency, campaigners and trade unionists warn

Progressive MPs submit alternative Green New Deal Bill to Westminster

THE government’s roadmap to a net zero carbon future for Britain was slammed by trade unions and campaigners today, as opposition MPs submitted an alternative Green New Deal Bill in Westminster. 

A group of progressive MPs, including Green MP Caroline Lucas and Labour’s Zarah Sultana, Nadia Whittome and Clive Lewis, tabled the Bill in Parliament.

The legislation follows the government’s publication of its net-zero strategy a week ahead of the 2021 Budget — and 10 days before climate conference Cop26. It will set out the scope and ambition for a plan to stay within 1.5°C of global heating while improving everyday life across Britain. 

Ms Whittome said: “The climate crisis is an existential threat to us all, so it is vital that we fundamentally restructure and decarbonise our economy to address it. 

“The Green New Deal Bill provides an ambitious blueprint for an economy which is not only green but also just, putting workers and communities at its heart.”

The proposals have had input from civil society groups, scientists and think tanks as well as unions including Unite, RMT and PCS.

It aims to replace the government’s disappointing net-zero strategy, which fails to provide necessary funding or reforms to reach net zero by 2050. 

Ms Lucas said it was time for her and others to step up where the government has repeatedly failed. 

Nothing yet seen from the Tory government, including its long delayed net-zero strategy, meets the scale of co-ordinated action needed, she added. 

The Bill comes amid heavy criticism from campaigners and trade unions of the government’s net zero strategy, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson said would set an example to other countries as it was published on Tuesday.

Rail unions, including RMT, Aslef, and the TSSA, said the proposals lack ambition, ignoring the urgency of the climate crisis — and many 2050 targets could be brought forward by two decades. 

Conservationists echoed the concerns, with Katie White of WWF calling for Chancellor Rishi Sunak to ensure public finances supported the transition, as well as adopting a “net zero test” to ensure all government spending was in line with climate action.

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