In the early 1980s, the American labor movement coined the term “just transition.”
The clean air and water laws it supports on health and environmental grounds have already started costing thousands of Americans out of work.
If environmental protection is to benefit society, as the ‘just transition’ argument goes, governments must ensure that the livelihoods they destroy or destroy are created elsewhere.
The term has become popular among environmentalists today.
Without the promise of a “just transition”, how can we reach consensus and make urgent progress on the massive societal changes needed to avert climate catastrophe?
However on Thursday The Uxbridge by-election result is an example Or the test fails. This can be costly.
The Conservative candidate won the election after opposing the Labor mayor of London’s pollution-destroying ultra-low emissions zone (Ulaids).
Cleaner air in London will benefit everyone, especially the poorest, but with living standards at their lowest in a generation or generations, how will the poorest who are now dependent on cars be able to switch without help?
Whether ULEZ policies are unfair to the poorest is still debated. But the Conservative campaign has benefited from understandable anxiety that they are expected to give up too much – at a time when they are at least able to afford it.
this Another campaign is the “Stop Oil” campaigna more extreme example.
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Frustrated by the lack of political progress and driven by the undeniable urgency of reducing fossil fuel emissions, protesters in high-gloss clothing, throwing paint and glitter seek to force action by making other people’s lives temporarily miserable.
Whether it’s stopping traffic or a tennis match, their aim is to force politicians to get tough on fossil fuels.
Unfortunately, targeting ordinary people in the context of a cost of living crisis seems to be forcing politicians to do the opposite.
Rishi Sunak’s government has already been accused of being ambivalent about net zero policies. Now, some in the Conservative Party are trying to use the anger over the Stop Oil campaign to attack Labour.
In response, Labor has also remained silent on net zero emissions and reacted to the defeat of the ULEZ by-election: The policy needs to be “rethought”.
After years of political consensus on the need for bold action to get to net-zero emissions as quickly as possible, both parties seem likely to finally shelve, or at least water down, green policies, fearing they could lose votes from those who think they have the most to lose by doing so.
It was a major political failure, especially as the world looked set to have its hottest year on record.
It’s becoming a bit of a cliché, but the economic rebuilding needed to avoid more severe climate extremes can create new jobs and a healthier future. This is exactly what most Britons want the government to achieve fairly.
But for now it looks like we may be moving away from that future, not toward it.