Jeremy Corbyn Pledges Fracking Ban, Energy Co-ops in Green Labour Agenda

Corbyn laid out a green energy agenda on Wednesday that would ban fracking and empower energy cooperatives. (Photo: PaulNUK/flickr/cc)

Jeremy Corbyn Pledges Fracking Ban, Energy Co-ops in Green Labour Agenda

'We want Britain to be the world's leading producer of renewables technology,' he said in Nottingham, a proposed fracking site

Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday introduced a green energy agenda "for the 60 million, not the big six," referring to the country's major gas and electric suppliers, and said a Labour government would "act to protect the future of our planet, with social justice at the heart of our environmental policies," if elected to power.

The manifesto touts the creation of a ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking; increased support for community-run energy cooperatives; and the creation of 300,000 new jobs in the renewables sector.

"We will act to protect the future of our planet, with social justice at the heart of our environment policies, and take our fair share of action to meet the Paris climate agreement--starting by getting on track with our Climate Change Act goals," Labour Party leader Corbyn said at the launch of his agenda.

He also said a Labour government would phase out coal-fired power by 2025 and would set a target for the U.K. to generate 65 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

"We want Britain to be the world's leading producer of renewables technology," Corbyn said. "To achieve this we will accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy, and drive the expansion of the green industries and jobs of the future, using our National Investment Bank to invest in public and community-owned renewable energy."

The agenda would empower 1,000 energy cooperatives. In an interview with Greenpeace in August, he explained, "essentially the more locally you generate electricity the more efficient it is."

Corbyn delivered his speech in Nottingham, a former mining town and a proposed fracking site.

The fossil fuel extraction method, which involves shooting chemical-infused water into shale rock at high speeds to release the gas underneath it, is not "compatible with climate change prevention," he said. "Research shows that as much as 80 percent of known fossil fuel reserves must remain unburned if the world is to keep global temperature rises to 2degC [above pre-industrial levels]."

The environmental advocacy group Friends of the Earth welcomed the manifesto. The organization's senior political strategist Liz Hutchins told the Guardian, "He is right to commit to ban fracking....The Liberal Democrats and the Green Party have called for a ban because of threats to health and the environment. It is now banned or halted in Scotland, Wales, France, Germany, and New York state."

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