Leanne Wood has told Plaid Cymru’s Spring conference of her wish to see a ‘Green New Deal’ here in Wales.
The Rhondda AM said it was vital that the environment and people are put at the centre of the Welsh economy. Ms Wood said if we were going to “deliver justice for the people and for the planet” then a radical plan was necessary.
Her words follow in the wake of a ‘Green New Deal’ unveiled by American congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow democrats last month. This notion of harnessing, rather than exploiting, the environment was also at the heart of Leanne’s 2011 policy document Greenprint for the Valleys.
Ms Wood said: “The window of opportunity to save our planet is fast closing upon us. Joyce Msuya, acting executive director of U.N. Environment, said just last month that a “bleak future” awaits our planet unless big changes are made.
“Wales could - and should - be a pioneer in the movement to develop carbon neutral economies. We can lead the way to a sustainable future if there is the right political will.
“Given that the current Welsh Government are failing so miserably to meet their own carbon emission targets, achieving the right political will mean political change. In Wales that can only be delivered by a Plaid Cymru Government.
“It isn’t just the environment that suffers under the current system. Everyday people are increasingly under pressure and out of pocket from a rampant capitalism that runs roughshod over resources and workers. People are being exploited by corporations that care only about lining shareholder pockets, evading tax and ensuring executives receive astronomical salaries. Owning your own house, for many young people nowadays, is an unobtainable dream.
“We need a new economic system that delivers justice for the people and for the planet.”
Ms Wood said the climate change protests that have sprung up in recent weeks with young people at the fore had been inspiring.
“There is a growing movement among young people who want a future on this planet” said Ms Wood.“Predictions are that catastrophic ecological change will occur in the lifetimes of these young people. Understandably they are angry and they are motivated.
“Rather than condemn the protests of these young people – as some right wing politicians have chosen to do – I applaud them. With young and energetic people at the vanguard of a burgeoning environmental movement, there is a chance that the future may not be so bleak after all.”
During her speech, Leanne also paid tribute to her dearly missed friend and colleague, Steffan Lewis.