Britain losing the global race for green jobs, says Labour’s Miliband

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Labour would end the onshore wind ban, stop all new oil and gas development and invest £1.8 billion in developing ports for offshore wind expansion, Ed Miliband has said.

In a speech on Tuesday, the shadow climate change secretary outlined his party’s response to US President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which seeks to promote the manufacture of clean technologies in the US.

The UK should play to its strengths and use the shallow waters of the North Sea, which are ideal for developing offshore wind, Mr Miliband said.

If not, the country risks falling behind competitors such as Denmark, which he said is creating jobs that could instead be taken by British workers.

At an event organised by Green Alliance, Mr Miliband told representatives of the renewable industry: “Net zero is a massive economic opportunity for Britain but we are losing the global race in my view.

“This is the key point. The winners of this global race will be decided not in the next decade, not sometime far in the future, but in the coming few years.

“And we know that with these new industries, the countries that hit their stride first in the race will so often be the winner.”

Mr Miliband called his party’s goal of decarbonising the power system by 2030 his “North Star” and reiterated Labour’s intention to establish a publicly owned energy company called Great British Energy and a national wealth fund to invest in the green economy.

As well as the £1.8 billion for developing ports, he said Labour would part-finance gigafactories – which produce batteries for electric vehicles – with £2 billion while a further £3 billion would help the steel industry decarbonise over 10 years.

Mr Miliband also wants to establish four carbon capture clusters around the UK and invest to help build the world’s largest green hydrogen electrolyser factory.

Further announcements on nature, housing, transport and solar are also to be expected soon, he added.

The MP for Doncaster North said: “This is a defining moment for our country and this whole agenda. We can carry on as we are with faltering climate leadership, losing the global race for green jobs, standing by while other countries get ahead.

“Or we can do something different. Get in the race and be in it to win it.”

A Downing Street spokesperson said Energy Secretary Grant Shapps “will announce an ambitious, positive and practical set of plans for securing the nation’s energy security and reaching net zero by 2050”.

He told a Cabinet meeting that the UK will soon have all four of the world’s biggest offshore windfarms with wind power increasing by 25% in 2022 and that the Government plans to go further on nuclear.

The Government is expected to announce a raft of green policies on Thursday, with the lead-up being filled with speculation from green groups and businesses that ambitions are likely to be watered down.

Tom Glover, UK country chair of electricity producer RWE, said: “The UK was the best market to invest in low carbon technology and is no longer.

“But there’s a massive opportunity. There are hundreds of thousands of jobs available and industry can deliver in partnership with Government to get these jobs out there and deployed.

“Industry can deliver offshore wind, industry can deliver solar, but we do struggle with some of the enabling infrastructure, with stuff that’s very long term or is required to deliver multiple projects.

“So his reference to ports, I fully agree with. It’s very difficult for an individual developer to do a port investment.”

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