Birmingham MP calls for radical plans on climate change

West Midlands needs to lead Green Revolution creating jobs and cutting poverty – claim.

Birmingham MP Liam Byrne will tonight announce that the West Midlands needs to declare a Climate Emergency and set out radical plans to lead Britain’s Green Revolution.

The Hodge Hill MP (pictured) will publish new research showing 20% of Brits now live under councils that have set target dates for going carbon-neutral – but none are in the West Midlands. In a keynote talk to a Citizens’ Assembly he has helped organised with Labour for a Green New Deal, SERA and Birmingham Youth Climate Strike, Byrne will argue a Green Revolution plan can help halve youth unemployment, lift thousands out of energy poverty and triple the cooperative sector.

His campaign received a major boost with endorsements from both Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell and Shadow Treasury Minister for Sustainable Economics, Clive Lewis MP.

Less than one fifth of the UK live under councils that have committed to going carbon neutral by 2038, according to Liam’s research. Across the country, almost 100 local governments have declared a climate – but none of these are in the West Midlands Of those who have acknowledged the need to act, just over half (54 of 98) have set a firm date to go carbon neutral. 49 local governments (making up 19.5% of the population) vow to be carbon neutral by 2038.

But less than one third of the population live under a local government that has committed to being carbon neutral by 2050 – the date set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change by which we must stop net emissions if we are to prevent a climate disaster and keep the global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.

At today’s event, Byrne will announce his ambition for the West Midlands Combined Authority to become the UK’s first zero-carbon city-region by 2037 – ahead of Manchester – with plans to:

· Halve youth unemployment, with 20,000 new jobs in retrofitting homes and installing solar and wind power-generation technology;

· Make the WMCA the UK’s first Real Living Wage Region – delivering a pay rise for more than half a million workers;

· End fuel poverty for 300,000 families;

· Double the pace of building a new generation of green council homes; and

· Triple the size of the cooperative sector with a West Midlands Green Energy Cooperative.

Responding to the findings, Liam Byrne, MP for Hodge Hill and potential Labour candidate for West Midlands Metro-Mayor said: “We led the industrial revolutions from the Steam Age to the Jet Age. Now it’s time we stepped up to lead the Green Revolution.

“Halting a climate catastrophe is not just a huge challenge – it is a massive opportunity. At a time when youth unemployment is skyrocketing in the West Midlands, we need a bold new economic vision for our region as a pioneer: creating jobs for our young people, lifting families out of fuel poverty and radically expanding renewable energy co-ops. We led these economic changes before. It’s time we did it again.”