Bookmark and ShareAndy Wimbush is nef‘s Communications Assistant and blogmaster.

newdealHappy New Year, blog readers! 2009 is going to be a key year for us here at nef, and probably a make-or-break year for climate change and energy policy.  Naturally, our politicians will remain preoccupied with the world’s economic woes. Which is why the Green New Deal – a series of  joined-up solutions to the triple crunch of peak oil, climate change and recession – still matters. Any action on the economy which fails to take into account climate and energy, and also social justice, will simply condemn us to more difficult problems in the years ahead.

I’m happy, then, to report that ideas related to the Green New Deal are still in the headlines, and the nef blog will continue to track these hits as they occur.

I expect that most of this year’s GND chat will revolve around Barack Obama, who has assembled a crack team of environmental advisors ahead of his inauguration later this month. He has also appointed Hilda Solis as his labour secretary, a prominent advocate of green job creation. More on this at the Independent.

Gordon Brown “promises” to follow Obama’s plan with a New Deal-esque plan with climate change at the centre:

His promise to use public money not only to create short-term jobs, but also to build a low-carbon economy for the future, will be seen as a modern reworking of Roosevelt’s New Deal – a massive programme of public works, such as dams and roads, to help America recover from the Great Depression. Brown even claimed his green plans would be bigger than Barack Obama’s planned multi-billion-dollar “Green New Deal”, relative to the size of Britain’s economy.

Read the rest at the Observer. With airport expansions and new coal-fired power stations still very much a possibility, I’m not going to get excited yet. Brown still has his work cut out if he wants to counter the stall on renewables caused by the credit-crunch related decline of oil prices.

Finally, the Financial Times consulted several leading economists about the prospects for economic recovery in 2009. nef‘s Andrew Simms was a voice crying in the wilderness as he suggested that economic policies must be directed towards tackling climate change, and cited the Green New Deal the best way forward.