Inciting the rhetoric of FDR during the days of the Great Depression, several economists, politicians, and environmentalists in the UK have made news recently with the proposal of the Green New Deal, an ambitious plan to fight the triple threats of the credit crunch, high gas prices, and climate change that are factoring to degrade life and the world as we know it.
Many have claimed that the present economic crisis is the worst since the Great Depression. Drawing many parallels to FDR’s initiatives in the 1930’s, the group has set a goal of 100 months to prevent global warming and other serious economic and environmental effects. Though it is not as radical as FDR’s 100 days plan, the group similarly wants to start with how financial institutions are run. According to an article on the Guardian UK‘s website, amongst other things, the proposals seek to redistribute the “distorting power” of the banking industry. They suggest that large banking groups be forcibly split up to minimize the systemic risk that federal bailouts of institutions like Northern Rock and Bear Stearns pose.
Moving from this restructuring, The Green New Deal proposes a massive investment – including the utilization of municipal bond funds – in renewables, pushing for energy self-sufficiency and the attempt to make “every building [in the UK] a power station.”
The Green New Deal also proposes to create a “carbon army,” a mass of people who are currently under- or unemployed who could be trained for the low- to high-level jobs required for the infrastructural shifts in green investment.
The members of the Green New Deal group include Andrew Simms, policy director of the New Economics Foundation think tank; Tony Juniper, former director of Friends of the Earth UK; Charles Secrett, an adviser on sustainable development; Caroline Lucas, a Green party MP; and Larry Elliott, economics editor of the Guardian UK.
The group’s recommendations include (via the BBC):
* Massive investment in renewable energy and wider transformation in the UK
* The creation of thousands of new “green collar” jobs
* Making low-cost capital available to fund the UK’s green economic shift
* Building a new alliance between environmentalists, industry, agriculture, and unions
“Such a Green New Deal could set a useful and groundbreaking international example of how to save the economy, whilst saving the planet.”