How to make the next Green New Deal work

Barbier, Edward B. “How to make the next Green New Deal work.” Nature 565.7737 (2019): 6-7.

As the 116th US Congress begins, a coalition is growing around an ambitious . If successful, a new House of Representatives committee would craft a 10-year plan to shift away from polluting industries, embrace green infrastructure and produce 100% of energy from renewables, improving prospects for US workers.

Sound familiar? It is. In 2008, in the midst of the Great Recession, the United Nations Environment Programme asked me to write a report that formed the basis of its Global Green New Deal to stimulate economic recovery and create jobs. It aimed to improve the lives of the world’s poor, lessen carbon dependency and reverse environmental degradation.

In the decade since, I have watched what worked, what didn’t and why. For the latest Green New Deal to flourish, the US government must first end fossil-fuel subsidies and correct other market distortions that prop up ‘brown economies’ — those that rely on fossil fuels and ignore the environmental impacts. Second, it must finance the new policy sustainably.

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