Green deals have the potential to rapidly accelerate our fight against climate change and address social inequality as well. Game-changing reforms are just a few pen strokes away.
This week we’re talking about green deals. They’re sprouting up like mushrooms: New Green Deal in the US, European Green Deal, Green New Deal UK, and we’re super excited about the potential here.
There’s a real chance to change the course of history and set us down a path to a better future. In this article, we’ll unpack them a bit and take a look at some of the ideas being put forward.
A benefit for the environment and society
Broadly speaking, a green deal is a set of government policies that aim to tackle environmental issues such as global warming alongside other social issues such as economic inequality.
They involve a great deal of investment on the part of nation-states into green projects and incentives that encourage citizens and organisations to ‘go green’. It can also mean penalising those whose actions are damaging the planet, for example through a pollution tax.
Currently, green deals are getting a lot of attention because governments and central banks are putting together economic recovery plans in the wake of COVID-19, and many want to use the opportunity to invest in green initiatives as part of these plans.
But even before this awful pandemic ground the world to a halt green deals, such as the one implemented by the European Union at the end of 2019, were gaining momentum.
The European Green Deal
Termed Europe’s “man on the moon moment”, the European Green Deal aims to make the EU climate-neutral by 2050. Passed in December 2019, it focuses on seven key areas including clean energy, sustainable industry/circular economy, agriculture and biodiversity.
But it’s not only a climate project, it’s an economic and social project too. To finance it all, the strategy is to attract at least €1 trillion worth of public and private investment (roughly the GDP of the Netherlands) over ten years.
That money will go to work in Europe’s economy, funding innovation, creating jobs in clean industries and, it’s hoped, addressing inequalities.
To ensure this last point, €100 billion is pledged to support workers and citizens of the regions most impacted by the transition.
It’s a grand, disruptive plan, the kind of which doesn’t come around all too often. If successful, then that’s the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions running carbon neutral within 30 years.
Now is the time
“Together, we can emerge from this crisis stronger, with decent jobs and a brighter, more equal and greener future for all.” – Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General
If green deals were TV or radio adverts then they’d be hard to resist: “cleaner air”, “jobs created in your area”, “a better world for your children”. Now is an opportunity for governments to direct investment to both citizens and the environment. If they do, then private investment will follow and create a snowball effect.
In the face of economic turmoil inflicted by COVID-19, Europe is further using its green deal as a strategy for recovery, backed by citizens who’ve seen a glimpse of what a cleaner world would look like.
The UK and US, with the aid of think tanks and institutions, are both considering ambitious green deals but are yet to pull the trigger. Ideas also exist for a radical global green deal in which all countries cooperate to make the necessary investment in going green.
Public support is important for influencing politicians to commit to assisting us with building a greener future.
You can put pressure on politicians by:
-Contacting your representative.
-Signing a petition.
-Protest (whilst adhering to social distancing guidelines).
-Supporting organisations, for example, The Green New Deal Group in the UK or Greenpeace in the US, that are fighting for a green deal or similar environmental policies.
-Educating others about green deals and their potential.
If you have any questions or fun ideas about this (or anything really) feel free to get in touch with Emilia Cullborg, Editor and Head of Communication & Community Outreach.