I mentioned a while back that Lord Chris Smith, chairman of the Environment Agency, has emerged as a enthusiastic advocate for the Green New Deal. Now, in an interview with the Observer, Lord Smith has criticised Gordon Brown’s environmental agenda for being incoherent, empty and inadequate. Brown talks about a Green New Deal, but hasn’t matched his words with effective action. Smith says:
Why on earth don’t we take a leaf out of Barack Obama’s book and put green technology right at the heart of the economic stimulus package that we believe the government is wanting to put together for the budget?
Why indeed. The case for a Green New Deal is stronger than ever. New research from the Environmental Industries Commission says that a Green New Deal in the UK could create 300,000 jobs. Meanwhile, over at Comment is Free, Brendan Barber describes how a global Green New Deal could be financed using a form of reserve currency known as ‘special drawing rights’ (SDR):
In terms of job creation, economic stimulus and support for long-term growth – not to mention warding off climate disaster – nothing is likely to provide bigger benefits than investment in climate protection.
Fortunately, some local governments are not paralysed by the inertia which has suffocated Downing Street. In Sheffield, preparation is underway for a Green New Deal conference on 28th February, supported by the city council. Speakers include GND authors Larry Elliott and Colin Hines. For more information and details about how to register, visit: http://www.sheffieldgreennewdeal.org.uk/
At nef, we’re continuing to develop ideas about ways in which the economic crisis and climate change can be tackled together, with social justice as crucial stepping stone between the two. Last month, our report Tackling Climate Change, Reducing Poverty – co-produced with our colleagues from the Roundtable on Climate Change and Poverty in the UK – addressed this issue. This week, we have a new pamphlet from our social policy team, exploring how we might restructure the welfare state to help us tackle the joint challenges of climate change and economic meltdown. Green Well Fair calls for a new social settlement which moves beyond dependence on the market economy, towards valuing the other, forgotten economies of people and planet. Download it for free or order a printed copy here.