progress is not the elimination of struggle, but rather a change in its terms’ - Aneurin Bevan

There are alternatives: green growth

One Million Climate Jobs: Solutions to the economic and environmental crises is a report by the Campaign against Climate Change trade union group in conjunction with a number of trades unions (CWU, PCS, TSSA, and UCU) representing workers in communications, the civil service, transport and higher education.

Recognising that climate change results from a massive market failure, the report's proposal is that the government establish a National Climate Service tasked with reducing the country's carbon emissions. The NCS would build up a carbon army of one million people doing “climate jobs” – reducing emissions from electricity generation, building use and transport.

Decarbonisation would involve immediately sending teams of construction workers to renovate homes and buildings across the country – treating climate change and the effects of global economic disorder like a national emergency requiring collective effort.

Rather than spend years attempting to create the conditions in which capital could profitably be invested in reducing the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere, the report argues that the NCS could act over the next two decades to implement the required cuts in pollution – and reducing the inflationary pressure stemming from the rising cost of energy imports.

Researching and developing clean coal, redesigning industry to minimise emissions, adapting the national grid to renewable energy generation, and upgrading and expanding affordable public transport – these are all jobs which will only be done if it is profitable to investors.

The report shows that directly employing a million people doing the necessary “climate jobs” would provide an immediate boost to employment in the private sector, supporting “indirect jobs” in those firms which supply materials and services required in decarbonisation. There will also be “induced jobs” in firms which provide goods and services to people in work that they could not afford to consume if they were struggling to get by on the dole.

Youth unemployment is at a record high – we know from the past that the social and economic costs of nearly a million young people without work will spiral without action. We can't afford to lose a generation or a healthy environment.

The Tory/Liberal government is committed to establishing a Green Investment Bank, however pressure is needed to ensure that the plan is ambitious. A strong GIB could issue green bonds - borrowing from institutional investors, like pension funds, which are reluctant to fund individual projects - and this could provide the basis for a National Climate Service.

One Million Climate Jobs offers a positive route out of recession that can unite environmental campaigners, co-operators, and trade unionists as ordinary people face government-imposed austerity. We can make our voices heard - there are alternatives!

You can download the report from www.climate-change-jobs.org or buy print copies for £2.50 (£15 for ten) from Campaign against Climate Change, 5 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX.