A green jobs revolution can deliver a fair transition to carbon neutrality
In the lead-up to November’s crucial Cop26 climate change conference, the government has been rather better at setting eye-catching CO2 reduction targets than taking the necessary actions to meet them. This month, however, there have been signs of an overdue sense of urgency kicking in when it comes to creating and safeguarding green jobs.
On Tuesday, it was announced that Vauxhall’s owner, Stellantis, will manufacture electric vans at Ellesmere Port, saving the site’s future. The carmaker has been promised substantial government support for its investment. That followed Nissan’s decision last week to build a £1bn electric vehicle hub in Sunderland, which will include a new battery plant, or gigafactory, with five times the capacity of the only existing facility in the United Kingdom. The government is rumoured to have pledged in the region of £100m as a sweetener. The UK still lags far behind its European competitors in developing the scale of battery capacity that will be needed for the domestic electric car industry to flourish. But having brought forward a ban on the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040 to 2030 last year, Boris Johnson and his business minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, are at last backing up rhetoric with a modicum of hard cash and the beginnings of a green industrial strategy.