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

Media caption,
Jonathan Bartley: "The green new deal is an an idea whose time has come"

The Green Party of England and Wales has launched its election manifesto 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 497 of the 650 UK constituencies.

Launching the manifesto at an event in London, co-leader Jonathan Bartley said his party was proposing the "most ambitious green new deal anywhere in the world".

He said the document would "put us on track to decarbonise every single sector of the economy by 2030, while delivering social justice across Britain".

"Our very planet is raising the alarm. Hitting snooze for another 15 years is simply not an option," he said.

Brighton MP Caroline Lucas was the party's only MP elected in the last general election, 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?

  • increase funding for the NHS by at least £6bn per year, until 2030
  • introduce a universal basic income of at least £89 per week for every adult by 2025
  • build 100,000 new zero carbon homes for social rent each year
  • hold a further Brexit referendum, at which the party will campaign to remain in the EU
  • introduce a proportional representation voting system and extend votes to 16 and 17-year-olds
  • Ban the construction of nuclear power stations and fracking for gas and oil

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 a promise to put a carbon tax on energy and fossil fuel imports, increased over 10 years to make coal, oil and gas "financially unviable".

Greens co-leader Sian Berry said the party would push for its policy programme to be implemented with 10 new pieces of legislation.

"Ten bills ready for the next Parliament to hit the ground running - because the future won't give us another chance to get these next two years right," she said.

"The more Green MPs we have, the more chance we have to save the future."


Image source, AFP/ Getty Images
Image caption,
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 is proposing today is 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".

More on the Green Party manifesto

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.

Image source, BBC

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