Labour to Produce Net Zero Transition Plan for Each Sector, Hints Ed Miliband

Shadow business secretary says the government has no plan for net zero, leaving the country “bumbling around”.
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Ed Milband addressing an event at the Labour Party conference in Brighton. Credit: Adam Barnett.

Labour’s shadow business and energy secretary Ed Miliband has hinted the party will produce a net zero transition plan to cover every sector based on the newly announced £224 billion spending pledge. 

Miliband, who led the party from 2010 to 2015, was speaking on a panel at Labour’s conference in Brighton today co-organised by SERA: Labour’s Environment Campaign and Labour Business.

He accused the government of “bumbling around” on the transition to net zero and revealed that Labour would provide a net zero plan for every sector of the economy. 

“On nuclear, on renewables, on energy efficiency, we’re just sort of bumbling around as a country not being clear about what the direction of travel is,” he said.

“There needs to be an overarching plan, and then, with business, in each area, we’d have a sense of ‘what does it mean’. What does it mean for the car industry? What does it mean for the steel industry? What does it mean for the retro-fit industry? And if we have that sense of a plan, then the private sector will respond, and actually we’ll get somewhere.”

‘This Is How We’re Going To Do It’

Miliband referred to shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves’s announcement yesterday that Labour would spend £28 billion each year until 2030 on tackling the climate crisis, a total of £224 billion. 

The commitment around green investment was “very important,” Miliband said. “I think that gives us the public investment, to lever in private investment, which can now form the basis for us on delivering that sense of the zero carbon transition plan: Labour’s zero carbon – I’m just announcing this for the first [time].”

Pausing to laugh, he added: “I’ll announce it here – we’d have a Labour zero carbon transition plan which then goes sector by sector and says, ‘this is how we’re gonna do it’. Because then I think, actually, you do that, then we can make progress.”

Miliband would not be drawn by DeSmog after the event on when the Labour plan would be published. However, he said it would be based on the £224 billion spending pledge. 

“Now that we’ve got the financial framework, which is really important, we can now work on developing what that means in practice sector by sector”, he said. 

Miliband also said he wanted to see whether the government would match the spending commitment. 

A government spokesperson said: “We are absolutely committed to meeting our world-leading climate commitments, having already slashed emissions by 44 percent over the past three decades.

“We have already published our Energy White Paper, North Sea Transition Deal, Transport Decarbonisation Plan, Industrial Decarbonisation and Hydrogen Strategies and consultation on CCUS business models.”

They added: “Over the coming months, we’ll go further with a plan to cut emissions in buildings and publish our Net Zero Strategy ahead of COP26 in Glasgow.”

The Conservative Party has been contacted for comment. 

UPDATED 29/9/21 to include government quote

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Adam Barnett is DeSmog's UK News Reporter. He is a former Staff Writer at Left Foot Forward and BBC Local Democracy Reporter.

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