Green New Deal

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The Green New Deal is a package of policy proposals that aims to address global warming, and financial crises. The term refers to the New Deal, the social and economic stimulus package undertaken by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt to battle the Great Depression,[1] and combining it with more contemporary approaches such as investment in renewable energies and the promotion of greater resource efficiency.[2]

History of the concept

New Deal - use of synthetic fertilizers to boost agricultural production
Green New Deal - Sustainable agriculture combined with the generation of renewable energy

An early influential use of the term Green New Deal, which gave it prominence in the US and well beyond, was by journalist Thomas L. Friedman who, in 2007, argued in favor of such concepts in two pieces that appeared in the New York Times and The New York Times Magazine, respectively.[3][4]

In January 2007 Friedman wrote:

If you have put a windmill in your yard or some solar panels on your roof, bless your heart. But we will only green the world when we change the very nature of the electricity grid -- moving it away from dirty coal or oil to clean coal and renewables. And that is a huge industrial project -- much bigger than anyone has told you. Finally, like the New Deal, if we undertake the green version, it has the potential to create a whole new clean power industry to spur our economy into the 21st century.[5]

Subsequently, this approach was taken up by the Green New Deal Group[6] that published its eponymous report on July 21, 2008.[7]

The concept was further popularized and put on a wider footing, when the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) began to promote it. On October 22, 2008 UNEP's Executive Director Achim Steiner unveiled the Global Green New Deal initiative that aims to create jobs in "green" industries, thus boosting the world economy and curbing climate change at the same time.[8]

General proposals

Broadly, the proposals for a Green New Deal echo the recommendations of UN-mandated organizations such as ICLEI or the TEEB, of global NGOs, and of the Basel II and related monetary accords, especially as these relate to reforms to measurement of fundamental ecosystem risk and financial liabilities. The reinsurance industry has also expressed support for the general principles of global carbon and emissions charges, for metrics of ecosystem destabilization risk, and for raising the price companies and individuals have to pay when using nature's services and natural resources.

Several measures proposed as part of a Green New Deal have already been implemented in one or more G8 or G20 countries including Norway, South Korea, the UK, Germany, and the US. The financial proposals echo some of the programs already underway at the IMF, World Bank, BIS and ECB that aim to better reflect the value of ecosystems and reduce systematic incentives to invest in "dirty" or destructive industries.

Actual measures

  • Government-led investment in energy and resource efficiency, as well as reusable energies and microgeneration;
  • Low-carbon infrastructure redevelopment in order to create jobs;
  • A directed tax on the profits of oil and gas companies with proceeds being invested in renewable energy and energy efficiency;
  • Financial incentives for green investment and reduced energy usage, including low interest rates for green investment;
  • Re-regulation of international finance, including capital controls, and increased scrutiny of financial derivatives - likely along the lines of Basel II;
  • Curbing corporate tax evasion through compulsory financial reporting and by clamping down on tax havens;
  • A Global Marshall Plan Initiative using "green quantitative easing" to create money to fund the "great transition" to a society free of fossil fuels and other measures that aim to preserve the biosphere.

Notable proponents


Some developing countries have argued that a global Green New Deal may undermine national sovereignty regarding a country's control over its natural resources. Brazil, Mexico, and India have emphasized national sovereignty when discussing the Green New Deal, with India also expressing fears of a green "economic straitjacket". Bolivia, on its part, has argued that a Green New Deal may signal the "privatization and commodification of nature".[19] China, while voicing some support for a Green New Deal, also pointed out that it may result in "trade protectionism under the pretext of environmental protection".

See also


  1. Jeremy Lovell (July 21, 2008) "Climate report calls for green 'New Deal'", Reuters.
  2. Hilary French, Michael Renner and Gary Gardner: Toward a Transatlantic Green New Deal The authors state: "Support is growing around the world for an integrated response to the current economic and environmental crises, increasingly referred to as the “Green New Deal.” The term is a modern-day variation of the U.S. New Deal, an ambitious effort launched by President Franklin Roosevelt to lift the United States out of the Great Depression. The New Deal of that era entailed a strong government role in economic planning and a series of stimulus packages launched between 1933 and 1938 that created jobs through ambitious governmental programs, including the construction of roads, trails, dams, and schools. Today’s Green New Deal proposals are also premised on the importance of decisive governmental action, but incorporate policies to respond to pressing environmental challenges through a new paradigm of sustainable economic progress."
  3. Thomas L. Friedman, The Power of Green. The New York Times Magazine, April 15, 2007
  4. Thomas L. Friedman, A Warning From The Garden, The New York Times, January 19, 2007
  5. Thomas L. Friedman: A Warning From The Garden, The New York Times. January 19, 2007.
  6. Mark Lynas: A Green New Deal, New Statesman, July 17, 2008
  7. Larry Elliott, Colin Hines, Tony Juniper, Jeremy Leggett, Caroline Lucas, Richard Murphy, Ann Pettifor, Charles Secrett & Andrew Simms, A Green New Deal: Joined-up policies to solve the triple crunch of the credit crisis, climate change and high oil prices. new economics foundation, July 2008
  8. Paul Eccleston, UN announces green "New Deal" plan to rescue world economies, The Daily Telegraph, October 22, 2008
  9. Thomas L. Friedman, The Power of Green, The New York Times Magazine, April 15, 2007
  10. Thomas L. Friedman, "A Warning From The Garden" The New York Times, January 19, 2007
  11. Mariana Mazzucato, Toward a Green New Deal, Project Syndicate, December 14, 2015
  12. Paul Eccleston, UN announces green 'New Deal' plan to rescue world economies The Daily Telegraph, October 22, 2008
  13. New Economics Foundation: Green New Deal
  14. Hilary French, Michael Renner and Gary Gardner, Toward a Transatlantic Green New Deal, PDF, 2009
  15. Alon Tal, Racheli Tedhar Kener, Protests for Social Justice: A Green New Deal for Israel?
  16. Dmytro Naumenko, Green New Deal in Ukraine? The Energy Sector and modernizing a National Economy
  17. Jill Stein, Campaign Platform - Green New Deal, October 24, 2011
  18. Van Jones (October 7, 2008) The Green Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems, HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-165075-7
  19. Vedeld, Trond (2011): Grønn økonomi og Rio 20+. "Business as usual" eller nytt paradigme? (NIBR Notat 2011:118); Vedeld, Trond (2012): Developing Countries say no to green economy, yes to sustainable development (NIBR International Blog 31.01.12)

External links