This letter was published in The Guardian on 10 August 2018:
Kim and Nick Hoare’s heartfelt call for a cross-party action programme for tackling climate change is crucial (Letters, 9 August).
Yet there is a way that the UK could contribute to substantially reducing its domestic carbon emissions while addressing the other serious threat of rapid and ubiquitous automation raised by Yvette Cooper.
There are two major labour-intensive sources of local jobs: face-to-face caring in the public and private sector, and infrastructural provision and improvements. Both are difficult to automate and can’t be relocated abroad. There is much discussion of the former, but far too little of the latter, which is crucial to tackling climate change. This would include prioritising energy efficiency and the increased use of renewables in constructing and refurbishing every UK building. In transport the emphasis would be on increased provision of interconnected road and rail services in every community, encouragement of electric vehicles for private use and for example using plastic waste in resurfacing roads and mending potholes.
Aside from the obvious advantages of improving social conditions and protecting the environment, this programme will have two further very politically attractive effects. The majority of this work will take place in every constituency and will require a wide range of skills for work that will last decades. In addition it would also inevitably help improve conditions and job opportunities for the “left behind” communities in the UK.
Colin Hines
Convener, UK Green New Deal Group