At a packed public meeting organised by Hackney and Tower Hamlets Friends of the Earth, at the Shoreditch Trust on 27th February, Hackney South and Shoreditch MP Meg Hillier pledged her support for amendments to the Energy Bill currently going through Parliament:
She also voiced her support for the creation of 'green jobs' in areas like Hackney, saying
'The independent Committee on Climate Change has said that in order to meet the ... commitment to see an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 we need to substantially decarbonise energy generation, and it’s not rocket science.
But if we do that we can also satisfy some of the worries that some in industry have about how it will affect them. We need industry in this country, but we can have both. If we’re clever about it we can have more green industry, and .. have more green jobs as well because we can get more research and development on how big industry gets greener that actually creates more demand for greener products..'
Hanna Thomas, of the East London Green Jobs Alliance, described how 'green' jobs can also help address issues such as high levels of unemployment among young people - a pressing concern in Hackney:
'We define a green job as one that has a living wage, that has opportunities for further training and that has environmental stewardship at the heart of it. So we don’t define it as purely renewable, or engineering; we’re looking at entry level jobs that young, unemployed people can do, like insulation or fitting solar panels on roofs..'
The discussion focussed on the high levels of fuel poverty in Hackney and the impact this has particularly on children's development, and on the wellbeing of the elderly. Martyn Williams, of the Energy Bill Revolution, said:
'We did some research with Mumsnet, which found that one in four families have cut back on food in order to be able to afford the heating, and that still leaves them living in a cold home; it doesn’t mean they’re nice and warm.'
The speakers were in broad agreement that schemes such as the Green Deal or tweaking fuel tariffs are not the solution: the answer is that we need to use less fuel.
Friends of the Earth's Clean British Energy Campaign is about cleaning up the energy system, freeing us from dependency on costly fossil fuels and creating thousands of 'green' jobs in renewable energy. For more information see http://foe.co.uk/cleanbritish energy
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