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Jeremy Corbyn calls for public ownership to combat ‘threat of climate catastrophe’

Originally published: Morning Star (February 12, 2018)  

Jeremy Corbyn called this weekend for public ownership of Britain’s energy system to help combat the “threat of climate catastrophe.”

He accused the government of having left a “trail of environmental destruction” and lampooned Environment Secretary Michael Gove for fashioning himself as an “eco-warrior.”

Speaking at a Labour event on alternative models of ownership, the Labour leader told attendees on Saturday that measures as radical as those taken by the 1945 government under Clement Attlee to rebuild Britain after WWII are needed to tackle climate change.

He said:

Nobody is fooled by Michael Gove’s reinvention of himself as an eco-warrior.

Behind the rhetoric lies a trail of environmental destruction.

This is a government that has licensed fracking, declared a moratorium on renewable levies while massively subsidising fossil fuels, dithered over tidal, held back onshore wind, U-turned on making all new homes zero-carbon and is failing to take the necessary measures to meet our legal commitments to reduce CO2 emissions.

He declared that “to go green, we must take control of energy” and that “it cannot be the workers who pay the price.”

He pledged that a Labour government will offer a comprehensive programme of retraining and employment to all workers displaced by transition in the energy sector.

Mr. Corbyn said that a green energy system will look “radically different” to the current one.

It would be heavily decentralised and locally accountable, with new sources of small and large-scale energy “from tidal to solar.”

Emissions reduction would be a central focus of a publicly controlled national grid.

Labour’s environmental pledges also include banning fracking, insulating four million homes, and delivering 60 per cent of our energy from renewable sources by 2030.

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