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Dave Vetter



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This is deeply concerning: the head of one of Britain's largest unions has branded climate action "bourgeois environmentalism". Here's what this tells me and what I think should be done. 🧵 1/

The New Statesman


Sep 22View on Twitter

🔻EXCLUSIVE: Labour must “face reality” on the energy crisis and back fracking, says GMB union boss. @Rachel Wearmouth reports:…

The leader of one of the most powerful trade unions has urged the party to abandon “bourgeois environmentalism”.…

Labour must “face reality” on the energy crisis and back fracking, says GMB boss

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That a union official can wrongly portray efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change as some sort of middle class affectation indicates that we -climate communicators and researchers- have _absolutely failed_ to do the right work in the right places. 2/

Specifically, we have failed to highlight and promote the overwhelming evidence that decarbonisation of the economy provides more and better jobs, lower bills, warmer homes and cleaner, safer cities for _all people_. 3/

Climate justice is, as my friend @Gareth Dennis likes to point out, worker justice. It offers a direct path to improved socioeconomic fairness and delivers so many quality of life improvements they'd be impossible to fully list in a Twitter thread. *We've failed to show this.* 4/

Instead, we've been preaching to the choir; impressing each other with stats about how much we know and how much smarter we are than the climate deniers. We've almost never stressed that "green spending" = INVESTMENTS THAT DIRECTLY UPGRADE HOW WE LIVE AND WORK. 5/

Insulation & retrofits improve home life. Green jobs deliver skills that futureproof workers. Renewable energy and electrification all but eradicate air pollution and guarantee energy security. Integrated electric public transport improves everything about being in a city. 6/

Most crucially, these investments help to bring down the cost of living for _everyone_. And we have the work to prove it! LSE, Oxford, Cambridge and Grantham have shown that all of this can be done in a relatively short space of time, given the right policy incentives. 7/

And remember these are *investments*. We actually get money back and gain a stronger economy by doing all this stuff. 8/…

Yet we've allowed the forces of the status quo - the press barons and offshore billionaires who profit from keeping us poor, cold, hungry and choking on fumes - to control the narrative. 9/

Their well-paid propagandists argue ad nauseum in the Telegraph, the Mail and the Sun that *we simply can't afford to make the investments that will improve all our lives and make us more prosperous*. It's an inversion of all known logic. 10/

And now we have a nominally worker-aligned figure lining up with the likes of Jacob Rees Mogg to say all these things are simply an expensive hobby horse for Waitrose shoppers. He's been duped - and we climate communicators are at least partly responsible for the duping. 11/

We climate communicators need to stop talking about "saving the planet". We need to start talking about saving *people*. Because only by bringing people along with us can we get any of this desperately vital work done. What are we waiting for? Jump to it. 12/12

Dave Vetter


Climate journalist; Forbes Sustainability Senior Contributor. Climate Week NYC Top 100. Formerly South China Morning Post, HK Mag, Orientations, SZD.

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