Autumn 2022

Autumn 2022

Change to the Philosophical Basis

See Philosophical Basis Climate and Economy Updates (#C05) • Autumn Conference 2022 (greencoordinate.co.uk) and Updates to the Philosophical Basis (#E01) • Autumn Conference 2022 (greencoordinate.co.uk)

Record of Policy Statements (RoPS)

Climate Targets

As of 2022, with current Green Party policies the greenhouse gas emissions produced in the UK would reduce by 50% over six years.

As of 2022, with current Green Party proposed policies, UK greenhouse gas production emissions can be reduced to about 140 MtCO2e (megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) in 2030.

With current Green Party policies the UK would make reductions such that our emissions will be as follows:

  • 140 MtCO2e production net emissions in 2030 made up of 180 MtCO2e emissions and 40 MtCO2 sequestration
  • 230 MtCO2e consumption emissions in 2030
  • 1 Mt (megatonne) methane production emissions in 2030
  • 2,000 MtCO2 cumulative UK production carbon dioxide emissions in 8 years from 2023 to 2030

The UK production emissions in 2030, as above, can be reduced for each sector to:

  • 5 MtCO2e for power
  • 20 MtCO2e for buildings
  • 40 MtCO2e for transport
  • 20 MtCO2e for industry
  • 60 MtCO2e for land use and agriculture
  • 15 MtCO2e for waste and Fluorinated (F) gases
  • -20 MtCO2e for negative emissions technologies

The emissions reductions are built on the following main assumptions:

  • Ambitious interpretations of Green Party Policies for a Sustainable Society (PSS)
  • Policies in the Green Party 2019 General Election manifesto
  • 70% reduction in UK aviation relative to 2019
  • 50% reduction in UK car use relative to 2019
  • There will be early behavioural changes to reduce emissions

Emergency Energy reduction for the UK

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has created a perfect storm in the energy market and exacerbated the cost of living crisis in the UK. The Green Party demands an emergency programme for energy-saving to end UK funding of Putin’s war and to assist the rest of Western Europe in making the same change.

We can, and should, reduce the UK’s use of oil and gas by more than our imports from Russia within one year. The Green Party calls upon the government to invest an extra £11 billion in the next 12 months:

  • an extra £5 billion in retrofitting buildings with wall and loft insulation and £2 billion on heat pumps.
  • £4 billion in renewable energy projects.

In addition we demand that the government makes the case, as acts of solidarity with Ukraine, for busines and  people to reduce their personal energy use. We should target delivery of a 20% reduction by:

  • Driving less,
  • Flying less (or not at all)
  • Reducing excessive heating. Since those on lower incomes already drive, fly and heat their homes less than the UK average, this initiative would be targeted at those on higher incomes.

The government should also reduce road speed limits, as was done during the 1973 oil crisis (and to match many other countries’ actions).

Closer alignment to the European Union

The Green Party regrets that the UK is no longer a member of the European Union. We continue to believe that the UK would be in a better position socially, environmentally and economically if we had maintained our EU membership. The pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine has shown that a united response to global issues is even more needed in the contemporary world.

The Green Party maintains that full membership of the EU remains the best option for the UK, and we are in favour of pursuing a policy to re-join as soon as the political situation is favourable and the right terms are available.

We deplore the government’s decision to undermine the international treaties it has signed, and its failure to prepare properly for the massive changes to our economic and social structures caused by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, putting businesses and citizens at risk. We also regret the decision not to undertake any official monitoring of the economic impacts of our decision to leave the EU.

We believe that many of the worst problems resulting from Brexit would be eased by re-joining the customs union and signing up to a comprehensive agreement with the EU covering the protection of human, animal and plant life. We would also support a speedy return to free movement of people between the UK and the European Union, and an urgent restoration of our inclusion in the Horizon Europe Research programme.

While we continue to support the principle of subsidiarity, local supply chains, and strengthened local economies, we are clear that the best way to maintain high standards on workers’ rights, health and safety and environmental protection is to mirror the legislative rules governing the EU single market.

In particular, we deeply regret the loss of rights and opportunities afforded to our young people and will campaign to ensure that all young, people regardless of background and socio-economic status, continue to enjoy the opportunity to explore the continent they share with those from the 27 EU member states, particularly through continued participation in the Erasmus+ scheme.

We deplore the use of the UK Internal Market Act to limit the rights of the devolved nations to retain their alignment with the EU, and to go further and faster with environmental protection measures. We are deeply concerned that peace in Northern Ireland is threatened as a result of the UK government’s attempts to undo the Northern Ireland protocol.

We commit to maintaining close and friendly relationships with our European neighbours through groups such as pro-European organisations, professional associations and twinning schemes.

Improving national accountability for climate damage

Conference calls on the UK government, as the outgoing president of the COP, to ensure through the preparations for COP27 that:

  • The negotiations take place in a transparent, inclusive and accountable way, with parties and observers granted equal access to the negotiations.
  • Real-time access with simultaneous translation is provided for those unable to attend in person.
  • The design of the Global Stocktake includes robust science-based reviews of every country’s progress towards delivering their NDCs and analysis of the barriers to the delivery of those NDCs and the Paris targets. The representatives of groups affected by climate change, as well as those providing conditional support, will be invited to participate in this process.
  • The COP makes progress on agreeing a process whereby parties can be held accountable for:
  • their shortfalls in delivering their NDCs and in providing agreed climate finance
  • the losses and damages caused by their emissions.
  • COP considers a debt for climate agreement with low- and middle-income countries.

PSS Insert into PSS (and re-number current CJ362 as CJ363): CJ362 To establish a legal process to prosecute the people most responsible for the UK having failed to protect people and habitats from climate breakdown. This will include examination of Article 30 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the UK’s International Criminal Court Act 2001.

£15 minimum wage

The Green Party is disgusted that decades of Tory, Labour and Coalition governments have created a poverty economy. 14.5 million people in the UK are in poverty. 10% of full-time working-age adults are in poverty, rising to a third of working-age adults in families where there is only part-time work. These are the highest rates since records began. 90,000 people a year die in poverty in the UK.

The Green Party believes that in addition to innovative policy proposals like the Universal Basic Income, higher minimum wages and empowered trade unions are essential to securing a high standard of living for all.

The Green Party supports the introduction of a minimum wage of at least £15 an hour, for all workers no matter their age, to help tackle the cost of living crisis.

The Green Party supports all trade union campaigns for £15 an hour, and will stand in solidarity with them in fighting for higher wages and working conditions.

The Green Party will seek to introduce a minimum wage of at least £15 an hour after the next general election.

The Green Party would develop a framework to compensate small businesses for this higher minimum wage by reducing their National Insurance payments

Stating opposition to anti-union and anti-strike laws

This Conference notes the Conservative government’s recent changes to law, enabling firms to use agency workers to replace striking workers and break strike action. Conference further notes the recent increase in fines available to be levied by the Certification Officer on trade unions found to have breached regulations, up to £1 million.

Conference notes the Conservative Party’s 2019 manifesto pledged to introduce a so-called ‘minimum service law’ in strategic sectors like transport, which would require trade unions to facilitate their members crossing picket lines or face fines and sequestration of funds. Further changes to law floated by the Business Secretary include restricting the representative function of independent trade unions in public sector workplaces like schools and colleges.

Conference notes that these laws are the latest in a long line of regulations designed to restrict trade unions and worker organisation, stretching back for 50 years. Workers in the UK do not currently enjoy any formal legal right to strike.

This Conference believes that trade unions and other forms of workers’ organisation are essential to upholding and expanding the rights of all people, both within the workplace and without. The freedom to organise in trade unions, and to withdraw one’s labour, is a fundamental human right and inalienable.

Conference believes the right to organise in trade unions has historically underpinned social progress of all forms, enabling people to win advances in prosperity and social equality for all. Attacks on the right to organise set the stage for social progress to be rolled back.

Conference believes the right to organise in trade unions and strike effectively is essential to winning a rapid and just transition to a zero-carbon economy. Workers should be encouraged to take industrial action to demand ecological justice, against the intransigence of the political elite and an economic system whose crisis tendencies are leading us towards ecological collapse.

Conference believes the law should facilitate workplace democracy and trade union activity, not restrain and outlaw it.

This Conference resolves to oppose any new anti-union or anti-strike regulations that restrain unions and their members. Conference calls for the repeal of existing anti-union and anti-strike laws introduced since 1979, including bans on secondary picketing, bans on industrial action for political objectives including climate and ecological justice.

Conference calls for the replacement of these laws with a positive charter of workers’ and trade union rights, enshrining the fundamental right to organise and strike, drawn up in consultation with trade unions. We urge Green council administrations to refrain from using agency workers to break strikes, defying the Conservatives’ recent changes to law in solidarity with workers.

Conference calls on the relevant Green Party bodies to include the commitments made in this motion in the next Green Party general election manifesto.

Supporting workers for taking strike action

This Conference notes that rates of price inflation have risen sharply in 2022, with the CPIH measure reaching 8.2% and the RPI measure reaching 13.7% in the 12 months to June 2022. These official measures do not capture the full impact of price rises on the poorest, who generally spend a greater proportion of their incomes on energy, food, rent and other essentials.

Conference notes that price inflation is not being caused by increased wage claims and rejects diagnoses of a so-called ‘wage-price spiral’ phenomenon. Conference notes that wages have stagnated in recent months and are in most cases failing to keep up with the rate of inflation.

Conference believes that the current inflation is being caused by a combination of exogenous factors, including global supply shocks and ecological phenomena, and concentrated corporate power that allows firms to extract ever greater profits. Workers should not be made to pay the price for the crises we are experiencing, and deserve pay increases that match or exceed the real rate of price inflation.

Conference applauds workers taking strike action and other industrial action to demand the government and employers meet these demands for pay and address the cost of living emergency. Conference applauds trade unions that recognise and use their leverage in a capitalist economy to advance the interests of both their members and working people as a whole, and urge unions to coordinate their efforts along industrial lines. We support building strike readiness across the general working population, and the building of a general strike for a political solution to the cost-of-living crisis.

Late and Emergency Motions

Affiliate to Enough is Enough

Millions of families face a crisis this winter as the cost of living soars and real wages fall at record rates

On 8 August 2022, a new campaign called Enough is Enough was launched by a coalition of national trade unions and community organisations to tackle this cost of living crisis

Within three weeks of launching, 500,000 people had signed up to join the campaign, and increasing numbers of trade unions and civil society organisations have since signed up as affiliates

Enough is Enough have five key campaign demands: 1. A real pay rise, 2. Slash energy bills, 3. End food poverty, 4. Decent homes for all, 5. Tax the rich

The campaign has launched with plans to hold more than 50 rallies across Britain (the first of these already attracting audiences of hundreds and thousands in London, Liverpool, Glasgow and Norwich), forming local campaign groups, organising picket line solidarity and taking action against the companies and individuals profiting from the current crisis

A Green Party Co-leader has set out how Enough is Enough’s five campaign demands are fully in line with Green Party policy

The Green Party has a long history of affiliating to, engaging with, and jointly steering coalitions of trade unions and civil society organisations pushing for progressive change, such as the People’s Assembly Against Austerity

Conference believes:

  • Tackling the cost of living crisis and the broken economic system that underpins it will require building mass movements for progressive change
  • Mass movements like Enough is Enough are significantly strengthened when they have political support
  • As the only major political party with elected representatives across England and Wales that fully support all five Enough is Enough campaign demands, the Green Party can lend vital support to this important and growing movement and therefore has a responsibility to do so

Conference resolves:

  • To instruct GPRC to write to the Enough is Enough campaign issuing our strong endorsement of the campaign, offer of support and request to affiliate.

Drag Queen Story Time

Green solidarity with Drag Queen Story Time/Hour

Conference notes with sadness that this summer has seen multiple increasingly hostile demonstrations against Drag Queen Story Time/Hour events, often in the presence of young people, which aim to stop these events going forward.

Conference further notes:

  • Drag Queen Story Hour UK has been delivering joyful LGBTIQA+ inclusive and affirming children’s library events in the UK since 2019, alongside other similar organisations including Drag Queen Story Time, and that these events have become increasingly popular.
  • That there is a long history of the use of drag in family entertainment in the UK, particularly in panto, which is largely noncontroversial.
  • That research from GATE, the international organisation working on gender identity, gender expression and bodily diversity issues, shows “commonly found” overlaps “between anti-gender [anti-trans] movements and a) racist, anti-migrant, anti-Semitic, white nationalist &/or pro-imperialism groups b) male supremacist, misogynistic, &/or men’s rights groups”.

Conference believes:

  • That the use of drag by Drag Queen Story Hour UK and Drag Queen Story Time – including bright colours, glitter, extravagant outfits and wigs, and exaggerated characters and voices, excites and engages young audiences, and therefore opens their minds.
  • That many children unfortunately do not see their families represented in the stories told in traditional settings, including primary school, which can be an incredibly alienating and confusing experience.
  • That prejudice against others, including mainstream societal prejudice against the LGBTIQA+ community, is a learned behaviour, and that children are not naturally discriminatory.
  • That teaching children about the existence of families outside of the so-called “traditional nuclear family”, like those with two Mums, two Dads, or other arrangements is not, as some wrongly claim, age inappropriate, and that children are perfectly capable of understanding and engaging with these lessons safely.
  • That these events are successfully challenging the heteronormative stereotypes and biases children often encounter from a very young age, which is vital in creating a more inclusive future.
  • That the accusations that these events promote and protect paedophiles are unfounded and untrue, and based in the homophic trope that anything borne of LGBTIQA+ culture is inherently sexual, which is founded on the inappropriate defining of the community by sexual behaviour.
  • That the demonstrations include dangerous far-right and conspiracy theorist groups, as well as homophobic and transphobic groups, which have no business being supported or encouraged by anyone engaging in mainstream politics.
  • That these demonstrations are the unfortunate and inevitable consequence of the relentless manufactured culture war being fought against trans people by the media and many mainstream politicians.
  • That unlike these events, which present no risk to children, the increasingly loud and hostile demonstrations which appear at risk of breaking into violence represent a significant risk to the wellbeing and safety of children and families.
  • That though drag is not reserved to the LGBTIQA+ community, it is borne of the community and LGBTIQA+ culture and drag are inextricably linked.
  • That the safeguarding of children and young people must be held in the highest regard at all times, and that therefore all safeguarding measures including DBS checks must be applied universally and without regard to an individual’s sexuality or gender.
  • That calling for supervised drag children’s entertainers to be subject to enhanced DBS checks where other supervised children’s practitioners are not is holding them to a different standard, and undermines the integrity of vital safeguarding measures.
  • That this unfounded suspicion is driven by the significant overlap between drag and the LGBTIQA+ community, and is based in the false homophobic and transphobic belief that LGBTIQA+ people inherently represent a risk to children.
  • That the calls to single out supervised drag children’s entertainers as subject to enhanced DBS checks where other similar entertainers are not are therefore homophobic and transphobic.
  • That it is incumbent upon all Greens to stand against the rising tide of extremism, represented in these demonstrations and throughout the raging culture war and moral panic.

Conference therefore:

  • Rejects in the strongest terms possible the unfounded and untrue accusations made against Drag Queen Story Hour UK, Drag Queen Story Time, and similar organisations.
  • Calls on all those demonstrating against these events to immediately cease their dangerous, aggressive and unacceptable behaviour.
  • Calls on all Local Authorities, and councillors, to support these events where they are happening in their area, and to ensure demonstrations are not successful in stopping the events going ahead.
  • Calls for children, their families, and all practitioners to be protected at all times from the aggressive and hostile behaviour witnessed at these demonstrations.
  • Offers solidarity to Drag Queen Story Hour UK, Drag Queen Story Time, and similar organisations, and to the drag queens running them.

Conference requires and instructs the Green Party Co-Leaders and Green Party Deputy Leader to send a letter within 4 weeks of the passing of this motion to Drag Queen Story Time and Drag Queen Story Hour on behalf of the party thanking both of these organisations for their vital work in tackling stereotypes and ensuring children see different types of role models in stories presented to them.

Conference requires and instructs Green Party Regional Council to work with the Association of Green Councillors and LGBTIQA+ Greens to develop a model motion for councillors to be published on the Association of Green Councillors ‘Green Spaces’ page by the end of 2022 in support of Drag Queen Story Time and Drag Queen Story Hour events being held in local authority libraries.

Conference resolves to insert this motion into the Record of Policy Statements.

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