Draft:Green New Deal
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Green New Deal refers to programs of policies to transform the economy and nation away from a reliance on fossil fuels and at the same time to create jobs and stimulate the economy. It has something in common with Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal and other major programs of public works, but is focused on transforming the sectors that are crucial to fighting global warming, such as transport, power generation, and energy efficiency.
The term is most commonly used in the USA, with a raft of proposals advanced by left-wing Democrats such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ed Markey, who launched an unsuccessful bill 2019. This spurred a push for a Green New Deal in Britain, a cause taken up by the UK Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn in 2019.
More radical organisations such as Extinction Rebellion have also called for a transformation of the economy.
- 1 Major elements
- 2 Differences of opinion
- 3 Affordability
- 4 Plans and proponents
- 5 External links
- 6 References
A move from electricity generation by fossil fuels to renewables, building wind farms, hydroelectric projects, geothermal, wave and tide power, massive storage projects, and other schemes, as well as the transformation of the electric grid to the "smart grid" needed to manage all this.
One of the key elements is to get people out of internal combustion engine-based cars and onto alternative methods of transport for their everyday journeys. This includes some combination of active travel (bicycles and walking), electric cars, and low-carbon public transport. This would not only reduce carbon dioxide emissions, but also reduce air pollution, congestion, and possibly deaths from auto accidents.
There are many proposals:
- building high speed rail
- improved and cleaner bus services, possibly with electric or hydrogen buses
- subsidies for electric cars
- new cycle lanes and cycling infrastructure
Reducing the number of commercial air flights is also important. Schemes such as rationing have been proposed, as well as increased taxation.
However, a more radical step would be to look at reducing the need for commuting and travel, through things such as home working, a four-day week, and increased localisation schemes such as the "15 minute city" which aim to put everything a city resident needs within walking distance of their home.
One of the simplest ways to reduce demand for fossil fuels is to use insulation and other solutions to reduce the amount of heating required. Many homes are still poorly insulated, and a program of wall insulation, double glazing, etc, would reduce energy usage and save people money on their fuel bills.
One of the major uses of fossil fuels is to heat homes and other buildings, with gas and oil commonly used (coal and peat are also bad, but less common). Heating with fossil fuels, especially heavy fuel oil, is also a major source of air pollution. It will be an enormous task to replace domestic heating and hot water systems with more environmentally friendly solutions such as heat pumps, solar panels, and district heating solutions.
At the same time, this is seen as an opportunity to create new jobs modernising homes.
Meat production especially cattle and dairy produce a lot of greenhouse gases. There are efforts to make agriculture emit less, but many experts believe it will be necessary to move to a largely plant-based diet.
As well as transforming your own nation's economy, it is essential to support other countries in cutting their emissions if there is to be a global impact.
Another issue is that of refugees created by climate change. Many proposals call for them to be protected, looked after, and provided with resources when they arrive.
Investment and research
Those of a more right-wing persuasion see this as an opportunity to create world-beating green energy companies, and call for subsidy of businesses as part of a transformation. It will be necessary to fund a huge amount of research in areas such as batteries, energy efficiency, wind and wave power generation.
Workers and human rights
It is inevitable that a massive change in the economy will affect many businesses and workers. Whole sectors of the economy will see major job losses. Hence various people have emphasised the importance of protecting jobs and keeping people in prosperity. Sometimes this has taken the form of Universal basic income, but with many Green New Dealers coming from the left, there are also calls for unionization, protection of jobs through legislation, and similar changes.
There are also calls for guaranteed public services such as energy, water, and internet, once these have been transformed and (probably) nationalised.
And there is a wider focus on moving away from purely economic measurements of national prosperity and success.
Proposals are also tied in with a wider social transformation including healthcare, free education, and transfers of wealth.
Some people are concerned that indigenous people are involved in planning any transformation rather than being forced to transform their lives.
Differences of opinion
While the main goals are widely shared, there are differences on a number of issues.
- State ownership and nationalisation of transport, energy, etc
- How to fund
- Changes to political system - is socialism necessary?
- Electric cars - do we want to have our streets congested with clean, non-polluting electric cars
- Nuclear power - other measures are controversial, such as biomass, but nuclear power sends otherwise sane people into a frenzy
Some more or less costed proposals have been advanced.
Plans and proponents
2019 US bills
These were vague plans rather than concrete, funded proposals.
UK Labour party
Labour put forth proposals at the 2019 general election, but lost and Jeremy Corbyn was replaced as leader. Nonetheless, in 2020 party members continued to push for plans.
- Green New Deal: Senate defeats proposal as Democrats unite in protest, The Guardian, Mar 26, 2019
- Here's what the Green New Deal actually says, CNN, March 2, 2020
- What is a 15-minute city?, City Monitor, Sep 21, 2020
- Corbyn among Labour MPs telling new leadership to back Green New Deal, Labour List, June 25, 2020