Starmer energy plan must centre workers’ just transition demands
Environmental campaigners have said that Keir Starmer’s climate speech on Monday must set out how his party will deliver a just transition plan for workers and communities currently dependent on the energy industry for their livelihoods.
In a speech in Edinburgh, the UK opposition leader is expected to give details of Labour’s plan for the energy transition, and confirm its policy of no new oil and gas licences, and opposition to the Cambo and Rosebank projects, in a bid to tackle climate breakdown.
Campaigners called on the Labour leader to focus on the blueprint for a just energy transition created by offshore oil and gas workers and backed by key trade unions including:
- Clear accessible pathways out of high carbon jobs, and a training regime for safety not profit
- Investment in domestic manufacturing and assembly of renewables
- Ensuring safety, job security and fair pay across the energy industry .
- Sharing the benefits of our energy system fairly, through public ownership, reorganising the tax system for public good and targeted public investment .
The demands, published by Friends of the Earth Scotland and Platform earlier this year, were developed in consultation with oil and gas workers and backed by over 1000 workers surveyed.
Campaigners highlighted in particular that public ownership must be at the heart of Labour’s just transition strategy, to enable the prioritisation of public good over private profit.
The Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves has previously pledged to reach £28bn per year of investment in tackling climate change if Labour leads the next UK Government.
Friends of the Earth Scotland’s head of campaigns Mary Church said:
“Keir Starmer is right to say no to new oil and gas developments to fight climate breakdown. This is an important step in the right direction towards setting an end date for all fossil fuels in our energy system, which is needed to provide certainty for the sector, making it clear that investing in renewables is the only choice for our energy future, and enabling proper workforce planning.
“The Labour leader needs to be clear about the steps his party will take to prioritise supporting affected workers and communities through the transition. With the right planning and investment there is potential for three jobs for every one job at risk from a managed phase out of oil and gas, in line with global climate goals. But this will only happen with government leadership and investment.
“Oil and gas workers are ready to lead a rapid and fair transition away from fossil fuels, and have a blueprint to create an energy industry that protects workers, communities and the climate. All that is required is the political will to get behind their demands.
Challenging the Labour leader to go further on his commitment to a Great British Energy company, Church continued:
“With the greedy energy firms having demonstrably failed to deliver on climate action, while raking in profits as people struggle to pay their bills, public ownership clearly must be at the heart of Labour’s just transition strategy. Public ownership means that public good objectives like keeping peoples’ homes warm and bills affordable, and reducing environmental harm, can be prioritised over profit.
“The investment promised if Labour forms the next UK Government is a great start and should be used to nationalise or take stakes in strategic energy infrastructure, such as the grid and ports, and to invest in regional publicly owned renewable generation companies. But more is needed, and reorganising the tax system for public good will be key to raising the finance needed.”
Keir Starmer is scheduled to give a speech in Edinburgh on Monday 19 June outlining Labour’s climate and energy plans.
In March 2023, a coalition of offshore oil and gas workers, climate groups and trade unions backed a new plan that would deliver a just transition away from fossil fuels to protect jobs, communities and climate.
Over 1000 surveyed oil and gas workers supported transformative demands to remove immediate barriers to transitioning into renewables; to ensure safety, job security and fair pay across the energy industry; and a longer-term vision for sharing the benefits of our energy system fairly.
Costed demands include a permanent Energy Excess Profits tax, a sovereign wealth fund, public ownership, rig decommissioning costs to be paid for by polluting companies, and a minimum wage for migrant workers.
Labour promises to ramp up spending on tackling climate crisis to £28bn a year
Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 73 national member groups, and 5,000 local activist groups.