Monday, 6 Dec 2021

BBC Newsnight: Labour frontbencher attacks Tories over climate change – ‘Not sustainable’

EU climate chief calls for net zero carbon emissions by 2050

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Luke Pollard, who was promoted to Labour’s frontbench under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, appeared to talk about plans for the UK to go net zero. The Shadow Minister was quick to criticise the Government’s climate agenda and called for people “not to buy into the soundbites”.

Mr Pollard said: “The Government is missing its climate change targets by a country mile.

“You won’t know that listening to ministers because they present an incredibly rosy picture about the scale of progress”.

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak was recently grilled by GB News’ Andrew Neil over the cost that the new green energy bill will have on British households.

Sunak struggled to answer who would cover the £10,000-per-home cost that going net zero would bring to British households.

Sunak struggled to answer who would cover the £10,000-per-home cost that going net zero would bring to British households.

Research by the accounting firm PwC found the UK’s carbon emissions have fallen by 3.7 percent every year and that Britain’s has the highest long-term reduction in greenhouse gas output of any country over the course of the 21st century.

In April, the UK Government went further with its commitments to go net zero and enshrined new targets to slash carbon emissions by 78 percent by 2035.

Even more recently, Number 10 has unveiled plans to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol trucks in the UK by 2040.

But Pollard said a majority of the UK’s decarbonisation came from the reduction in the number of coal-powered power stations under the last Labour Government.

BBC journalist Faisal Islam asked Pollard whether trade unions could be a thorn in the side of Labour’s proposals given some of them are hesitant to commit to net zero.

The Shadow Environment Secretary replied by stating trade unions must recognise “there is no future for our economy that is not going to be sustainable”.

Pollard was still unable to reveal the cost that going net zero would have on British households.

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The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) says it will cost a total of £1.4trillion over 30 years to transition to net zero by 2050 and around three-quarters of this will be fronted by households and businesses.

Just £350billion is expected to be covered by the Government.

Whilst he said he thought we need to be honest about the cost of going net zero, Pollard added: “At the moment there is not a single country on the planet that is doing enough to deal with the climate emergency.”

Labour has changed its position on going net zero under the stewardship of Sir Keir Starmer.

While Starmer sat on Corbyn’s frontbench as the Shadow Brexit Secretary and was committed to going net zero by 2030 in the last general election, he decided to axe the pledge in 2020.

The move away from the Green New Deal Policy was challenged by 24 MPs on the left of the Labour Party, including the former leader Jeremy Corbyn and the ex-Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, who argued his move was ill-advised.

While the Labour Party’s position has changed, Pollard told the BBC he was “greedy” and added he “believes in net zero by as soon as we can get it”.

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