Labour’s 2030 net zero pledge could add £800bn to UK economy, finds study

The Labour Party’s pledge to decarbonise the economy by 2030 could lead to a net benefit to the UK of £800bn, according to a report.

Published this morning, the Labour Party-commissioned report sets out a fast-track plan aimed at delivering Labour’s pledge, which the party says will limit carbon emissions “within keeping of the IPCC advice, including to keep global average temperature rises below 1.5C”.

The government, which has set a 2050 decarbonisation target, has rubbished Labour’s pledge, with business secretary Andrea Leadsom describing it as “total tosh” during the Conservative Party conference last month.

READ MORE: What would Labour’s plans mean for the environment?

However, an independent body of energy industry experts, tasked by Labour with identifying the most radical feasible pathway to decarbonise the energy system by 2030, has found the move would create 850,000 new skilled jobs and save the NHS £400 million per year.

The report identifies four goals for transforming the UK’s energy supply and use: reducing energy waste in buildings and industry; decarbonising heat; boosting renewable and low carbon electricity generation and balancing the UK’s supply and demand. 

It includes 30 recommendations to meet these goals, including upgrading every home in the UK with energy-saving measures such as insulation and double glazing, installing 8 million heat pumps, 7,000 off-shore wind turbines, as well as 2,000 more on-shore wind turbines and solar panelscovering an area of 22,000 football pitches, which wouldtriple the UK’s current capacity. 

The report states that by 2030 the recommended investment in the energy sector would lead to a net benefit of £800 billion to the economy and create 850,000 new skilled jobs in green industry. 

It adds that replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy could result in 6,200 avoided respiratory-related deaths a year by 2030, due to improved air quality, potentially saving the NHS £400m per year. 

Rebecca Long Bailey, shadow secretary for BEIS, said: “The recommendations in this report could put the UK on track for a zero-carbon energy system during the 2030’s – but only if rapid progress is made early on. The next five years are therefore crucial.

“We are working with trade unions to ensure that the changes to our energy system will be planned democratically, with the interests of workers and local communities at the heart of the transition.”

Greenpeace said the report highlighted the scale of investment that will be required to deal with the climate emergency. 

Rebecca Newsom, head of politics at Greenpeace UK, said: “The report is right to say that we can’t hit net zero if we don’t immediately get on with delivering lots more renewable power, insulating homes and buildings and trialling at scale the potential solutions to heat decarbonisation. 

“This all costs money, but investing more now will bring enormous benefits.”

Follow-up: The report, 30 recommendations by 2030 can be found here:

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