Socialist Worker

How to create one million green jobs

Issue No. 2173

The Campaign Against Climate Change trade union group has produced a pamphlet to show how the government could create one million green jobs. It is backed by major trade unions, including the RMT, CWU, PCS, TSSA and UCU.

“We want people to use the pamphlet to organise local meetings of trade unionists and put the argument for green jobs,” says Jonathan Neale, one of the pamphlet’s authors.

“We hope it will give confidence to workers facing job losses to fight.”

Below we print some extracts from the pamphlet:

‘Climate jobs are jobs that cut down the amount of greenhouse gases we put in the air and thus slow down climate change. The main kinds of jobs we need are involved in producing alternative energy, insulating and renovating buildings and making more efficient appliances, investing in public transport and educating and training new workers.

Lots of jobs will be created in manufacturing – making wind turbines, marine turbines, solar power, power lines, boilers, low carbon appliances, electric buses and cars – and all the parts and materials for all of these industries.

Some jobs will go – in the old energy economy for example. But many more jobs will be created than lost. It takes many more workers to run buses and trains than it does to build cars for the same number of passengers. And jobs renovating homes and buildings do not put anyone out of work.

We will have to protect people who lose their jobs – and this is easy if the government is hiring the climate workers.

The new Climate Service that we want to see will hire a million direct workers, but create about one and a half million jobs in all. This is a rough estimate.

How can the government pay for these jobs? The first thing to say is that governments do things that “cost too much” – the war in Iraq for example.

We estimate that we can employ a million workers over a ten year period for less than the government gave the banks in one year. The government will save money on taxes and benefits by employing more workers. The same is true for the indirect jobs that would be created.

And the government will get money back – bus and train passengers can buy tickets, people will pay bills for electricity from renewable energy.

We estimate that the real cost of creating one million green jobs is £20 billion each year – and there are several ways the government can find this. Taxing the rich, scrapping Trident. Or take some money back from the banks.

We want to make the government do this. Unions will have to join and lead all other kinds of groups. But persuasion won’t be enough – we need action.

Action can be many kinds – electing environmental reps in workplaces, for example, or striking to keep services and prevent people having to travel further and create more emissions.

We need more fights like Vestas, which had a huge resonance across the world.

Of course we cannot solve the climate crisis just by cutting emissions in Britain. But we can make a decisive difference. If we do win a million climate jobs our example will be seen on television in every country.

All over the globe, workers will know what to do. And they will do it. That will change the future of the planet.’

For copies of the pamphlet, phone the Campaign Against Climate Change on 020 7833 9311. To invite a CACC speaker to your local meeting phone Martin on 07958 535 231

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.