Andy Wimbush is nef‘s Communications Assistant and blogmaster. He also draws cartoons for nef‘s newspaper.
The Local Government Association has published a new report entitled Creating Green Jobs: Developing local low-carbon economies in which they call for a Green New Deal ‘to promote a green pathway out of recession’. In Public Service Magazine, LGA Chairman Paul Bettison writes
there remains an urgent need to press ahead with action to tackle climate change – the greatest long-term threat to our future prosperity and security. This makes economic and environmental sense. If we do not start to act, the economic consequences will be far graver in the future – recession or not. […] Creating a low carbon economy will develop new markets and new businesses. At a time when we are seeing redundancies on an almost daily basis, the LGA estimates that thousands of new green jobs could be created – jobs that would help save carbon, reduce fuel poverty and protect those parts of the country at greatest risk from climate change.
Well, absolutely. It’s encouraging to see that the social justice element of the Green New Deal is being brought out. Investment in a low carbon future will not only bring about emissions reductions, it will also give us the opportunity to create a fairer, more just society, as nef has argued in two recent reports (Tackling Climate Change, Reducing Poverty and Green Well Fair). Local governments and communities will have a major role to play in this aspect of the Green New Deal: nef will be publishing more on this issue later in 2009.
It’s also striking that the LGA is merely the latest QUANGO to start calling for a Green New Deal, after the Environment Agency voiced their support (here and here). How many of the Government’s own organisations will have to champion the Green New Deal before Whitehall starts to listen?
Pressure isn’t just mounting from below: it’s coming from outside as well. In Nairobi, the United Nations has once again called on governments to adopt a Green New Deal programme which will stabilise the economy, address climate change and lift millions out of poverty. At a time when discussion of the economy drowns out almost every other concern, it’s refreshing to hear UNEP saying that “Reviving the world economy is essential, but measures that focus solely on this objective will not achieve lasting success.” More at Reuters.
Finally, Green New Deal group member Colin Hines has been talking to members of Transition Town Totnes about economics and the role of government. Read the transcript of his lecture at Rob Hopkins’ Transition Culture blog.