Towards a Transatlantic Green New Deal

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

“A Global Green New Deal will only work if it succeeds in addressing both pressing environmental priorities and pressing social needs in industrialised and in developing countries,” argues a June report by Worldwatch Institute prepared for the Heinrich Böll Foundation.

“In the current perilous times, it has become commonplace to note that moments of crisis are also moments of opportunity,” the authors write.

To tackle the climate and economic crises, “decisive action will be needed at multiple levels of governance,” they say. “Furthermore, many different societal actors must be engaged in the process, including national governments and international institutions and members of civil society, trade unions, and the private sector.”

“One immediate priority is to make national economic stimulus packages as green as possible”, the rapport stipulates. Moreover, the G-20 can help governments to “coordinate their green stimulus package efforts in order to assess the cumulative impact and reap the greatest returns,” the authors add.

The rapport also calls for “initiatives aimed at creating and maintaining green jobs”.

The Worldwatch Institute suggests implementing “long overdue fiscal reforms”:

  • reducing “subsidies for environmentally harmful economic activities” and 
  • implementing “tax shifting programmes that reduce taxes on employment and labourr and replace the revenues with environmental levies”.

Moreover, the authors call for an “increased public spending on research and development (R&D) for energy efficiency and clean energy”, noting that “energy R&D is dwarfed by military R&D”.

Strong transatlantic cooperation can help “to pave the way for stronger energy efficiency standards, including the possibility of harmonised fuel economy standards, as well as joint mandates to phase out particularly inefficient products such as incandescent light bulbs,” French, Renner and Gardner add.

“It is important that the Copenhagen Conference give a strong boost to international institutions and mechanisms that promote green technology development and sharing,” the rapport insists.

“The urgent nature of the threats we share demands that we rise to the occasion by forging an ambitious and bold collective response,” the Worldwatch Institute report concludes. 

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