Green Party warns planet 'ringing the alarm' as it launches £100bn a year climate change election manifesto

  • Video report by Martha Fairlie

Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley says the planet is "ringing the alarm" as he helped launch the 2019 General Election manifesto.

Setting out plans to invest a £100 billion a year in tackling climate change, Mr Bartley said world leaders missed a chance to rebalance global economies and priorities when the banks crashed 10 years ago.

"We went back to business as usual," he said, "And then we turbo-charged business as usual.

"Inequality went through the roof, living standards fell through the floor and we kept pushing our planet onwards towards dangerous levels of heating."

He said the Green Party's "Green New Deal" plans would decarbonise "every single sector" by 2030 and restore social justice for all.

"Hitting snooze for another 15 years simply isn't an option - this is a different magnitude to the financial crash," he said.

The party – which is strongly pro-Remain – is also promising a People’s Vote bill for a fresh referendum on Britain’s relationship with the EU.

Under the party’s plans, it would raise £91 billion a year for the next decade for capital expenditure on tackling climate change.

A further £9 billion a year in operational spending would be funded through raising taxes, including corporation tax which would rise to 24%.

The party argues that borrowing on such a scale is both justified – given the looming “climate crisis” – and prudent as it would kick start economic and social regeneration.

It says public sector investment would act as a catalyst for private sector investment, as private investors seek to share in the financial rewards of a transition to a low carbon future.

Mr Bartley added: “It’s the most ambitious Green new deal proposed anywhere in the world. While the other parties are trying to catch up, we’re still racing ahead, reaching new horizons.”

His co-leader Sian Berry said the more Green MPs elected, the more chance there was to secure the future.

Deputy leader Amelia Womack said that voting Green was the strongest way to ensure that Britain was kept in Europe.

“We are offering the only way forward from the wreckage of the 2016 referendum. We are not going to watch while story extremists drive our country off a cliff,” she said.

“Greens are different. We will give you a people’s vote, your final say on Brexit.”

In other measures, the party said it would increase NHS funding by at least £6 billion a year, scrap university tuition fees and introduce a universal basic income with a “phased-in unconditional payment to everyone at a level above their subsistence needs”.

It would also scrap the first-past-the-post system in elections, replacing it with proportional representation, create a fully elected House of Lords and extend voting rights to 16 and 17 year-olds.

Mr Bartley said there was "differentiation" with Labour over its policies on Brexit and climate change.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Our proposals today are very much about remaining in the EU, another point of differentiation with Labour, but also transforming the country, getting to that net zero target by 2030.

"Looking at every sector of the economy, spelling out how we need to decarbonise and what kind of investment is going to be needed, being honest about that investment."

He added: "When there's a war, when we're facing an existential threat, we don't hold back, we know that we have to tackle it. Frankly, if the climate were a bank, we would have bailed it out by now."

Mr Bartley said the party wanted to introduce a frequent flyer levy and was against airport expansion