The Green New Deal (GND) is a comprehensive response to the current economic, social and environmental crises. It integrates macro-economic reforms with a social inclusiveness agenda and a green industrial policy, from the local to the international level. Doing so, it paves the way of a transformation of our development model so that in can ultimately ensure prosperity and well-being for all, across the planet and generations, reducing inequalities within and between societies, and reconciling our lifestyles - the way we live, produce and consume - with the physical limits of our planet. The Green New Deal is more than just another “eco-friendly” policy - it’s a plan for a rethink of priorities in addressing the way we live and work. Therefore the Green New Deal proposes a comprehensive, economic, social and environmental transformation, from infrastructure and sustainable industrial policies to investment in peoples’ wellbeing and redistribution of wealth.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Why We Need a Green New Deal
We need a GND because without it the planet will reach breaking point: We haven’t reached that point yet partly because two billion citizens live in poverty and hunger, preventing them from living Western-style lives of mass consumption and major exploitation of natural resources. It’s a dilemma the GND is designed to solve - providing decent living standards for all without exhausting the physical limits of our environment. We need a GND to bring together all the elements needed to create a way of living which is not self-destructive – a comprehensive, economic, social and environmental transformation.
How to make the Green New Deal a reality
The Greens in the European Parliament set up, a dedicated working group with the, task of developing Green New Deal policies. Transversal by nature, the GND touches many policy areas dealt with in the European Parliament. The working group, including Green MEPs working in different Parliamentary Committees, shapes GND policy on subjects ranging from macroeconomics and economy to industrial policy, employment and mobility. We develop policy papers, commission major studies and organise workshops and conferences with experts and Greens from around Europe.
In parallel to developing GND policies in specific sectors, we are also developing the vision of the GND. The Greens are actively pushing key GND objectives and policies into reports and resolutions of the European Parliament.
The Green New Deal online: www.greennewdeal.eu
Visit the Green New Deal website - a common platform to find and exchange information and best practices on the Green New Deal.
«By referring to the need to develop new indicators which go beyond GDP, the EP gives a clear signal that ‘economic recovery’ must not be based on a ‘business as usual approach’, which is in line with our request to develop a 'Green New Deal'».Pascal Canfin,08/10/2009.
The implementation of the Green New Deal calls for a new direction of economic policy aimed at reducing our ecological footprint and improving quality of life for all. Redefining objectives of economic policy will bring forward major changes in our economic system which implies new tools and indicators to steer and evaluate policies. As we are to put people and the planet first, the implications for budgetary and monetary policies at national, European and global levels are huge.
This new macro-economic framework must be based on two essential foundations in order to change our system from unstable and unfair to sustainable and socially just. First, we advocate for much stronger financial regulation, since deregulated financial markets have proven to be socially and environmentally blind. Second, a fairer system of taxation is needed in order to ensure redistribution of wealth. We need to raise revenues from capital and natural resources, to shift away the burden on labour and to allow investments in the transformation of our economy towards sustainability. For lots of key measures (tax heavens, corporate taxes, financial transaction tax, eurobonds, etc.), there is a urgent need for harmonisation at EU level.
What we want
The GND calls, amongst other things, for:
• Progressive eco-taxes, Eurobonds, a progressive bank levy as well as a tax on financial transactions to finance the transformation of economies and to limit the tax burden on labour.
• A strong and coordinated fight against tax heavens and tax evasion.
• The integration of environmental and resources limits in macro-economics policy making.
• Deeper coordination of fiscal and macroeconomic policies within the EU, for a sustainable development model, wellbeing for all, respecting the limits of its physical environment and in a socially just way.
• A common European tax policy to achieve a just European economic model.
«The new EU supervisory agencies are a big step towards controlling risks at the EU level, but with time more powers and resources will have to be transferred to make sure the system works in the long run. Member states will have to realise this sooner rather than later».Sven Giegold
«The Greens have long advocated that Europe commit to a true Green New Deal, speeding up the transition to the green economy as the only viable response to the current economic crisis».Elisabeth Schroedter,07/09/2010
Having a quality job contributes, amongst other things, to social and economic well-being. Promoting decent work and quality of working life is part of the GND equation. High health and safety and welfare standards at work and a good work-life balance help secure the future. The GND aims to guarantee everyone full access to education and to the labour market, making it possible for everyone to participate fully in society.
What we want
The GND calls amongst other things, for:
• Better use of existing funds for adapting skills, training and retraining of workers, particularly women, to equip them with the necessary skills for green jobs.
• A proper shift to green jobs, ensuring these new jobs are decent and workers and unemployment people get adequate training.
• Setting ambitious environmental standards and financial incentives to stimulate the shift to production of sustainable goods.
• A framework directive on minimum income as a crucial step to tackling poverty in Europe.
• A European Youth Guarantee, securing the right of every young person in the EU to be offered a job, an apprenticeship, additional training or combined work and training after a maximum period of 4 months’ unemployment.
«It is high time to act. Today more than 5.5 million young people under 25 are unemployed. We risk losing a generation to social exclusion while gambling with the economic and social future of the EU». Emilie Turunen,06/07/2010
«Working time can be a powerful tool to address the challenges of high unemployment in Europe».Karima Delli,3/12/2011
«The EP has today set out a viable path for the EU energy sector, calling for energy efficiency and renewable energy to be at the heart of the EU’s energy strategy over the next decade».Claude Turmes,25/11/2010
Energy - heat and power - underpins our modern way of life, but the world still depends on conventional fossil fuels - oil and gas - which are largely responsible for climate change. The GND requires a massive switch to more sustainable energy production, with ambitious targets for the use of renewable energy sources, including
100% use of renewable energies in Europe by 2050. Nuclear energy - which many wrongly call “low-carbon“ energy - is not the answer. The energy involved in mining, fuel fabrication, construction, transport and waste management makes nuclear comparable in carbon dioxide production to an efficient gaspowered station. In addition, nuclear energy leaves toxic waste, a real threat to people and the environment for thousands of years, not to mention the risk of fall-outs or nuclear accidents. The GND advocates a fundamental shift towards a sustainable energy system that would create new jobs, increase European competitiveness, promote technological change, cut down our CO2 emissions, boost our energy security as well as protect our industries from future energy price shocks.
What we want
The GND calls amongst other things, for:
• Strict adherence to the agreed 20% renewable energy share by 2020 as a minimum, and a 100% use of renewable energy by 2050 at the latest.
• The creation of a European super grid to carry renewable electricity across Europe from where it is generated to where it is needed, and decentralised smart grids to integrate the electricity that people generate at home;
• A 40% reduction in CO2 emissions in the EU by2020 compared to 1990 levels - anything less than a 30% reduction is completely out of line with science and will not prevent the dramatic consequences of runaway climate change.
• Resource efficiency indicators with a similar status as GDP and monetary indicators.
• Strict adherence to the 20% EU energy efficiency target, the introduction of minimum efficiency standards for all kind of appliances, and a large program for buildings renovation;
• Strict EU standards for power plants, so that by 2020 no new coal-fired power plants can be built.
The Greens in the European Parliament have successfully pushed for a Green New Deal through several reports and resolutions, despite the constant battle with mainstream political parties.
«In the context of a resource and climate-constrained world faced with an increasing global competition as well as a downward economic and social spiral, the future of
European industry lies in its innovation capacity».Reinhard Bütikofer,16/06/2010.
Industry is a central theme in the Green New Deal (GND), from construction and manufacturing to chemicals and the energy sector, right across the industrial spectrum. There are no industrial sectors that the GND does not address and does not want to transform.
The GND aims to increase innovation and efficiency in all industrial sectors be it in energy or in the use of resources as well as to promote a closedloop system where products and materials are re-used and recycled. Ultimately, this aims to lower industry’s carbon footprint, create a new wave of high-skilled and decent jobs that reduce unemployment and poverty, and prevent general environmental degradation. This would revive the economy, jolting it out of the current doldrums. A modern and efficient industrial base running under a closed-loop system that creates and uses durable, environmentally-friendly products that can be re-used, recycled and remanufactured will be the key to sustainable development. This would create a competitive industry firmly rooted in the 21st century.
A Green New Deal for the EU’s industry therefore aims to provide the right mid- to long-term political framework in order to shift the currently unsustainable mode of operation in Europe’s industries to a sustainable one.
What we want
The Green New Deal calls, amongst other things, for:
• An industrial policy approach that combines competitiveness, sustainability and decent work and which thereby stimulates the economy, boosts employment, reduces environmental degradation and improves the general quality of life.
• The establishment of a macro-economic framework and a financial and fiscal system that take into account the reality of resource scarcity and climatic change and aims to promote industry’s future competitiveness.
• In connection with industrial (re)structuring operations, makes use of sectoral aid policy to strengthen innovation and roll-out of sustainable products, while phasing out aid to unsustainable processes.
• Adopting targets to enhance EU’s resource and energy efficiency, durability, recycling, reuse and remanufacturing and the development of closeloop industrial production systems.
• The setting of benchmarks and standards as strong drivers for promoting innovation and sustainable competitiveness in industrial sectors.
• Pursuing active energy savings policy and diversification towards sustainable, non-polluting and safe energy sources in major industrial sectors such as the transport and construction sectors.
• The use of public procurement as a powerful instrument for stimulating innovation and driving markets toward sustainable products and services.
• Providing instruments for fostering the development of eco-innovative SMEs as well as the development of eco-industrial parks.
«Mobility issues can no longer remain purely technical and sector- or even mode-specific. Just as energy issues fortunately came to occupy more and more often the centre stage of European policymaking, mobility issues need to become one of the EU’s key policy areas, at the crossroad of environmental, social and economical challenges». Isabelle Durant,18/11/2010.
Mobility is key to accessing jobs, services and facilities. It is consequently essential to economic prosperity, social inclusion and wellbeing, but the transport sector accounts for about 27% of all greenhouse gas emissions, as well as thousands of road deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries a year. The “greening” of cars and planes is already under way, but it is happening too slowly and will in any case not be enough. The car dependency culture can be changed by better urban planning, making cities more “walkable” and “cyclable”, with strategically placed public transport access and with sustainable, affordable, accessible and vastly expanded public transport networks.
What we want
The GND calls, amongst other things, for:
• Inclusion of aviation in global CO2 emissions targets and phasing out of aviation tax breaks brought in when the sector was new and climate change was unrecognised.
• Investment in credible, green, alternatives to flying, including better train connections for journeys under five hours to avoiding travel altogether, by using teleconferencing, among other means.
• Targets for electric mobility (electric cars, trams, trains or electric bicycles), and tougher CO2 emission limits.
«The time for excuses is over, it is now time to act for a sustainable economy. Only comprehensive reform will do it, simply re-enforcing sanctions will not get Europe out of the crisis».Philippe Lamberts22/06/2010.
The GND is not a quick-fix solution but is aiming at tackling the roots of the systemic crises we are facing by proposing a long-term project for transforming our society. Changing our model implies rethinking the references, objectives and indicators we use. Going beyond the infinite quest for growth and dropping the obsession with GDP is one angle to look at. The key question we face is how can we adapt our behaviours and lifestyles so as to reduce our carbon footprint on the planet while simultaneously promoting equity and improving quality of life for all. The Green New Deal implies moving away from a narrow vision of economic growth to a broader understanding of prosperity.
More concretely, at EU level, we have been active in pushing this comprehensive vision by influencing on the content of the EU2020 strategy. Europe 2020 is a ten-year strategy proposed by the European Commission aiming to achieve "smart, sustainable and inclusive growth" in the EU, with greater coordination of national and European policy. It follows the Lisbon Strategy, launched in 2000, which failed in making Europe the most competitive economy in the world and achieving full employment.
From a Greens perspective, the main problem with this supposedly new strategy was that it proposed much of the same thing, with attempts to green some aspects of it, but essentially the end objective - more growth yet again - would only lead Europe deeper into the crisis. The Greens could not accept a strategy with such a flawed objective which would determine policy for the next decade.
What we want
• The recognition and promotion of common goods and strong income redistribution.
• Reducing inequalities by a strong redistribution of wealth and anti-discrimination measures, including gender.
• Combining public incentives, private investments and individual initiatives to enforce the transformation at all levels.
• New models of exchanging and consuming outside the market and enhancing living together at local level e.g. LETS, car-sharing schemes, etc.
• A development model that accepts the existing physical limits of the Planet and doesn’t rely on the exploitation of the poor and the Planet.
• A financial system that supports the real economy, itself geared towards the well-being of people and the environment.
• A better work-life balance in which men and women equally share responsibilities in all areas of society.
• A fairer use of space through a re-localisation of a number of activities.
• Reclaiming time: against shareholder value, to reach a balance between different aspects of our lives.
More information on the Green New Deal
This publication has been produced by the Green New Deal Working Group (GND WG) of the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament. It has been made possible thanks to the contributions of Green thematic advisors and MEP offices involved in the Green New Deal.
Editor: Jean-Bernard Pierini
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Picture credits: European Parliament
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