Friday, January 09, 2009

Create jobs in Bristol by building a green economy

I doubt that anyone can say how many Bristol jobs will be lost due to the current recession with accuracy (the front page of today's local paper headlines 20,000 local jobs at risk). However, there's little doubt that the economic situation is bad and that jobs are going, with more job losses to come.

With properly directed investment though we can be positive and hopeful. I believe we need a Green New Deal * which would involve:

- Massive investment in renewable energy and wider environmental transformation in the UK, leading to,

-The creation of thousands of new green collar jobs

-Reining in reckless aspects of the finance sector – but making low-cost capital available to fund the UK’s green economic shift

-Building a new alliance between environmentalists, industry, agriculture, and unions to put the interests of the real economy ahead of those of footloose finance

Going green is the best way to fight the recession and get a healthier society with ongoing decent quality of life - ask an ever growing number of economists!! After all we have worked hard to mess up the environment for decades which means there is a lot of work to be generated in stopping this and putting things right!

* The Green New Deal Group is:

Larry Elliott, Economics Editor of the Guardian,
Colin Hines,Co-Director of Finance for the Future, former head of Greenpeace International’s Economics Unit,
Tony Juniper, former Director of Friends of the Earth,
Jeremy Leggett, founder and Chairman of Solarcentury and SolarAid,
Caroline Lucas, Green Party MEP,
Richard Murphy, Co-Director of Finance for the Future and Director, Tax Research LLP,
Ann Pettifor, former head of the Jubilee 2000 debt relief campaign, Campaign Director of Operation Noah,
Charles Secrett, Advisor on Sustainable Development, former Director of Friends of the Earth,
Andrew Simms, Policy Director, nef (the new economics foundation).


  1. Having read the New Green Deal, it is obviously an intelligent document and really needs to be supported. Perhaps as recently as a year ago, I would have said its proposals for transforming the financial system (and especially the separation of retail banking, merchant banking and securities from each other) would have almost zero chance of success. However, it is now obvious that the general public, politicians, business people and even some bankers and fund managers have realised that the present financial system is deeply flawed and the smell of reformation is in the air.

    Looking at the deal from a local level, I can easily see that the raising of a municipal "green" bond investing in energy projects could attract pension fund investment, especially if it has the overall backing of the government. I could also imagine a public transport initiative using a similar bond to invest in cleaner transport technology to reduce reliance on the private car and there is at least one Bristol-based company (Unite)that has a £1 billion investment fund and which is keen to invest in providing accomodation for the private rental sector targeted at those younger working households who cannot get (or want) a mortgage but are inelligible for affordable housing, (recently estimated at between 17,000 and 28,000 in the Bristol local authority area)

    The Centre for Cities report quoted in the local paper, also highlighted the fact that Bristol had an advanced, hi-tech manufacturing industry with high importance attached to research and development and to intellectual property. Later, the report concludes that low-carbon technologies could be a growth area for the Bristol economy generating new jobs in higher value-added design and engineering roles.

    A New Green Deal will almost certainly turn out to be the best thing that has happened to Bristol for one hell of a long time.

  2. Many thanks for the detailed,thoughtful comment Tony.


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