A central component of his U.S. presidential campaign, Joe Biden’s plan to build back better promised to tackle climate change and create jobs. His blueprint for a ‘Clean Energy Revolution’ comprises a $400 billion investment in public energy infrastructure and smart technology, alongside tougher regulation for polluters and an green job creation programme that protects workers rights and boosts union power. This plan draws integral links between the environment, the economy, and global equity for workers and communities.
Implementing such a transition to leave no one behind is an enormous and complex task, requiring nations, policy makers, industry leaders, unions and community groups to recognise their shared interest and collaborate closely. What does this commitment from the United States mean for the rest of the world as national governments seek to rebuild their economies after the COVID-19 crisis? Is the plan enough to strengthen International cooperation around the Paris Agreement and beyond? Will American ambition for clean energy innovation drive a global ‘race to the top’? What does this policy shift mean for businesses and workers around the world, and what does a just transition look like in the UK context?
Tom Burke is Co-founding Director and Chairman of E3G. Tom is a frequent media commentator on broadcast and print media, speaker at events and active writer of blogs and on social media. He is the Chairman of the China Dialogue Trust which produces a number of online publications covering China and the environment. He is also a Trustee of Climate Advisors UK and other civil society organisations. He is Visiting Professor at both Imperial and University Colleges, London. Tom was the Executive Director of Friends of the Earth in the late seventies, of the Green Alliance for most of the eighties and was a Special Advisor to three Secretaries of State for the Environment from 1991-97.
Melanie Onn is RenewableUK's new Deputy Chief Executive. In her role she focusses on supporting supply chain innovation and the development of the skilled workforce the industry needs, including opening up wider areas of the sector to more women. Before joining RenewableUK, Melanie was the MP for Great Grimsby, serving from May 2015 to November 2019, including periods as Shadow Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government and Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons.
Michael has been the General Secretary and Chief Executive of Prospect union since 2012, having been the Deputy General Secretary for the previous 8 years. Prospect represents 116,000 professional, managerial and technical staff, employed in central government, utilities, defence, telecommunications, nuclear decommissioning, air traffic control and science. He is the chief spokesperson and is responsible for the strategic direction and financial management of the union that employs 200 staff with over 4,000 representatives. Michael has also been an Employment Tribunal (ET) and then an Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) member continuously since 1994. He was appointed to the EAT in 2002.
Robert Pollin is Distinguished University Professor of Economics and Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He is also the founder and President of PEAR (Pollin Energy and Retrofits), an Amherst, MA-based green energy company operating throughout the United States. He has worked as a consultant for the U.S. Department of Energy, the International Labour Organization, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and numerous non-governmental organizations in several countries and in U.S. states and municipalities on various aspects of building high-employment green economies.
Guestlist to be confirmed.