The Green New Deal (GND) is not a government spending program or socialism. It is a democratic voter lead proposed economic planning and reinvestment strategy that aims to transition the United State from brown economy to a green economy. From a economic model that denies climate change, is dependent on oil, depletes natural resources, pollutes the environment which makes people sick and natural resources unproductive and where the wealth of the earth and work is concentrated into the hands of the 1% to a economic model that tackles climate change by redirecting investments from oil to renewable, energy conservation, conserving natural resources so the needs of the present are met without compromising future generations needs and sharing the wealth of the earth and work with the 99%. A lot of work for planning a transition from a brown economy to a green economy has already been done. The American proposal for a GND is only part of broader call for a Global Green New Deal (GGND). The GGND is part of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) Green Economy Initiative (GEI). The UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative (2008) is designed to assist governments in “greening” their economies by reshaping and refocusing policies, investments and spending towards a range of sectors, such as clean technologies, renewable energies, water services, green transportation, waste management, green buildings and sustainable agriculture and forests. The GGND was launched in 2009 as a recommended package of public investments and complementary policy and pricing reforms aimed at kick-starting a transition to a green economy that invigorates sustainable economies, creates living wage jobs and address persistent poverty. This is also the goal of the GND: investing to combat climate change while improving the lives of the 99%. Momentum is building for a Greener and a more inclusive economy. 65 or a quarter of the world’s countries are now pursuing green economy related strategies and 48 of them are taking steps to develop national green economy plans. America needs to become one of these countries and the Green New Deal can lead the way.
Promoting the green economy as a economic growth model began in 2012, at the Rio+20 (United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development) held in Brazil. At that conference the green economy was framed as an important tool for sustainable development: “one that is inclusive and can drive economic growth, employment, and poverty eradication, whilst maintaining the healthy functioning of the Earth’s ecosystems.” The conference’s outcome document entitled The Future We Wantwas a call to action for governments, business and the UN alike to support countries interested in transition to a green economy. The UNEP has been active in this regard, partnering with numerous UN members and civil society partners to respond to country requests as to how sustainable development goals can be met.
Barbados is one those countries that is greening it’s economy. Back in 2005 Barbados created The National Strategic Plan of Barbados 2005–2025: Global Excellence, Barbadian Traditions (NSP) to transition Barbados to a green economy. The NSP provides the blueprint for the realization of Barbados’ vision of becoming a “fully developed society that is prosperous, socially just and globally competitive.” Barbados has benefited substantially from its indigenous solar water-heating industry, which reduced carbon emissions, created decent work, generated revenues from exporting solar water heating systems throughout the Caribbean and saved foreign expenditure on fossil fuels. On September 30, 2013 the Barbados Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Maxine Pamela Ometa McClean, made a statement at the United Nations General Assembly highlighting the small Caribbean nation’s quest for a green economy. She told the Assembly: “that adopting a policy of sustainable development will be a means of survival for Barbados. Barbados is vulnerable to both fluctuations in the price of its imported fossil fuels and at risk from the destruction of its marine and coastal ecosystems from climate change therefore the pursuit of a greener path to economic development is critical to the country.” Barbados is a UN Green Economy success story and an example and warning for the United States. That planning for a green future is critical for the US to help mitigate the effects of climate change on its economy and ecosystems.
Importantly, the outcome document also recognizes that capacity building, information exchange and experience sharing will be critical for implementing green economy policies. The Green Growth Knowledge Platform (GGKP) (2012), a global network of international organizations and experts, is one of these capacity building partnerships. Through widespread collaboration and world-class research; the GGKP identifies and addresses major knowledge gaps in green growth theory and practice and offers practitioners and policymakers the policy guidance, good practices, tools, and data necessary to support the transition to a green economy.
One of the “gaps in knowledge” the GGKP wishes to refute is perhaps the most widespread myth that there is an inescapable trade-off between environmental sustainability and economic progress. There is now substantial evidence around the planet complied in reports such as the Green Economy Report by the GEI in collaboration with economists, experts worldwide and many GGKP reports; demonstrated that the greening of economies can generate as much wealth creation and opportunities for investment and growth in jobs as the brown economy, while yielding significantly more environmental and social benefits.
China is proof of this “grow first, clean up later” proposition of the brown economy is no longer valid as an economic growth model. China having followed the brown economy idea that pollution prevention is bad for the economy has produced one of the most polluted countries in the world. The World Bank in 1997 estimated that air pollution costs China 8% of its GNP. As with brown economics the the income gap is growing as more and more wealth generated is going to a relative small percent of the population. China, choking on its own air, has realized the need to transition from the old brown economy to the new green economy to improve the lives of its citizens.
China has developed, with UN cooperation, a pathway to a Green Economy: The 12th Five-year plan for National Economic and Social Development (2011-2015) seeks to promote “inclusive growth.” The plan’s key themes are rebalancing the economy, reducing social inequality and protecting the environment. Under the current 5-year-plan US$ 468 billion was invested in three key green economic sectors: waste recycling and reutilization; clean technologies, and renewable energy. China’s environmental protection industry is expected to continue growing at an average of 15-20% per year and its output is expected to reach US$ 743 billion during the 13th five-year plan. China’s green stimulus is the largest in the world and has made them the largest Solar PV manufacturer in the world and number 2 on the list of countries using solar power.
GGKP identified another gap in green growth and practice; an era of capital misallocation. As China learned, “Green finance is essential to realizing China’s national strategic objectives in green development and ecological civilization,” said Wang Yao, Professor and Director-General at the IIGF. “Through approaches in practicing green credit, green bonds, green insurance and industrial funds, as well as implementation at local levels, China’s green finance development has contributed significantly to social and economic structural reforms and gained widespread recognition internationally.”
In one year, China’s green bonds grew in number by 278 per cent and value by 28 per cent
7,826 green and low-carbon projects, at investment of RMB6.4 trillion (US$0.96 trillion), are listed in public-private partnerships catalog
121 new green regional development funds were set up in 2016
Some examples of green investments:
When buying a new mail, Fedex truck buy electric instead of a gasoline engine.
When changing lights at home or business upgrade to LED lighting.
Restore natural habitat. It helps to prevent erosion, it cleans water and it benefits agriculture by increase yields per acre by attracting native pollinators such as hummingbirds, butterfly’s and honey bees.
Begin planning with sustainable principles thinking to replacing the US aging infrastructure that eliminates or minimize threats posed to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
Buy green bonds.
It is time as the GGKP has pointed out, that the pools of assets controlled by sovereign wealth funds of the brown economy, such as pension systems and insurance companies, in the US $39 trillion and $178 trillion-plus worldwide and the growing assets of these funds need to be transition to the green economy. The Green Economy report confirms that an investment of 2 percent of global GDP across 10 key sectors is what is required to kick-start a shift to a green economy. The report also seeks to motivate policy makers to create the enabling conditions for increased investments towards such a transition.
Countries around the world are beginning to realize that green investments are a profitable way to manage the economy: that prevents pollution, protect resources for reuse, does not incur the cost of cleaning up a polluted resource depleted environment and the health care costs that are associated with the brown economy model. China has learned the lesson of the brown economy, now it is time for the United States to learn. An example where America can switch investments to a green economy is in West Virginia. On business terms their coal cannot complete, with gas, western coal and renewable. Instead of allowing more air pollution subsidizes by the government and the associated health costs of black lung to keep a non-profitable business going it is time to go green. Creating jobs by making West Virginia the solar production center of the US and putting solar panels on every building in West Virginia to create a new energy grid to replace the need for coal. This is business, some businesses are not profitable and go out of business and others requiring new investment take their place. Business plans for the future, this is what the US needs to do, plan a pathway to a green economy and we can begin with West Virginia.
The United States could be the #1 solar user and manufacture in the world, but the US is being held back by the brown economy of oil and coal. Because the leadership of the brown financial system is in climate denial and ignores or denies the long-term social and environmental impact of brown economic activities for the short term gain of the few, they under investment in green sectors and overvalue environmentally damaging assets such as the fossil fuel industry. Their argument for oil is based on a lie, that climate change is not real, so they have to tell more lies trying to prove the first lie: it going take away your cows, it is socialism and it is going cost trillions of dollars. None of which is true. What is true the longer the US follows the brown economic model the greater the damage done and the more expensive it will become to clean up and manage the effects of climate change. It is the clean up and the disruption of economies caused by climate change that is going to cost trillions not the transition to a green economy.
Guatemala is an example of an economy disrupted by climate change and its cost. Increasingly erratic climate patterns have produced year after year of failed harvests and dwindling food and work opportunities across the country, forcing migration to escape food insecurity and poverty. A study led by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) interviewed families from key districts in the Dry Corridor about the pressures that are forcing them to leave. The main “push factor” identified was not violence, but drought and its consequences: no food, no money, and no work. Their findings suggest a clear relation between climate variability, food insecurity, and migration, Another study,”Climate, conflict and forced migration” indicates that the warming planet is fueling conflicts that lead to more refugees. The authors concluding recommendation is “that policies to improve the adaptive capacity to deal with the effects of climate change in developing economies may have additional returns by reducing the likelihood of conflict and forced migration outflow.” These studies provide a frightening window into what’s to come as the world begins to experience real effects of climate change, the challenges ahead and the need to develop policies that feed people, avoid conflict and mass migration.
At the border America is facing its first real challenge with the effects of climate change. Unfortunately President Trump’s policies are not avoiding mass migration or conflict, they are fueling them. By cutting off aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, that was helping families affected by climate change stay on their farms and make a living, they are now forced to migrate to find jobs to support their families, not get on welfare. Since Trump has been in office he has been cutting “massive” amounts of aid to these 3 countries. That massive aid amounts to $180 million to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador combined, down from $257,379,159 when Trump took office, Trump is going spend $300 million to keep one detention center open for the rest of the year. That aid was working in creating jobs, USAID the agency that manages aid in the agriculture sector in Guatemala, invested $22 million in small-scale farmers to improve crop production, increase incomes, create market linkages, and support agricultural policies. These actions increased sales – In FY 2017, the year before aid cuts, the value of total sales attributed to USAID/Guatemala was $48 million, of which $34 million was from the coffee sector, $13 million from horticulture and $1 million of handicraft products. This investment generated employment resulting in 21,906 full time new jobs. Overall, USAID rural value chain projects generated $177 million in sales and 74,194 full time jobs from 2013 to 2017.
By comparing the cost of a brown solution to climate change at the border: $5-25 billion for a wall, billions more for detention centers and the uncountable human suffering of family separation to a green solution of $22 million invested in farmers, it is obvious the best investment is green. It is much cheaper and more productive to keeping farmers working on their land. Trump’s brown policies are a costly failure at dealing with climate change and America needs to go green to prevent further environmental damage, conflict and migration.
America can be an example to the world, as the studies say of what not to do. Climate change affects the whole earth and it will take the cooperation of all nations to develop climate change policies that are non-violent, cooperative and affective, not violent, individualistic and destructive. The earth has already run out time, some countries such as Guatemala requires immediate action to feed its citizens and prevent the collapse of their economy, creating mass migration. Countries around the earth need to develop and implement a GGND now in an effort to minimize the consequence of climate change and help each other manage it affects.
The GND resolution recognizes the urgency of the climate situation and calls for a green transition to be accomplished through a 10-year Green New Deal mobilization with the goals of preparing for and trying to prevent the worst affects of climate change while raising the standard of living for the working middle class.The GND is a democratic economic planning and reinvestment strategy that aims to develop the right policy tools to set out a clear pathway for business and finance to follow to transition the United States from a brown economy to a green economy. The UN and other countries around the world have developed a blueprint for the US that provides timely and practical guidance to policy makers on what reforms are needed to unlock the productive and employment potential of a green economy.
The UN Green Economy Reports concludes: “A green economy can generate as much growth and employment as a brown economy and outperforms the latter in the medium and long-run while yielding significantly more environmental and social benefits. Of course there are many risk and challenges along the way. However, the biggest risk of all is to remain with the status quo and not engage in a transition towards a green economy. Moving towards a green economy will require world leaders, civil society and leading business to engage in this transition collaboratively. It will require sustained effort on the part of policy makers and their constituents to rethink and redefine traditional measures of wealth, prosperity and well-being.”
This really is about the Future We Want as we the people worldwide. We have to make a choice between a brown economy of more extreme weather, conflict, less sustainability and wealth concentrated into the hands of the 1% or a green economy of less extreme weather, conflict, a sustainable environment and sharing the wealth with 99%. A green future will require citizens telling their governments and financial institutions to begin developing plans to divest from a brown economy and invest in a green economy. As stated earlier momentum is growing around the globe as many citizens and countries are working to green their future. Now it is time for the US to green it’s future. As Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said with the released of the resolution on a Green New Deal that there is growing support for a GND. Students around the globe are demanding a GGND. States and cities are developing and implementing green energy strategies. Members of congress have offered their support for the proposal as well as many committed environmental groups and citizens groups, as voters and future voters realize that it is time to transition from a brown economy to a green economy. The Green New Deal is not only a tool to fight climate change, but also of democracy, where capital is put to work for the people creating an economic democracy that ensures a more beneficial sharing of the earth’s wealth. At the same time protecting and building a sustainable environment for future generations to use and enjoy. A Green New Deal.
We at Codepink realize that war is not green, it is part of the brown economy that also needs to be divested from. America’s wars for the last 19 years has cost trillions of borrowed dollars with interest that increases the debt, has not made us safer or spread democracy. Revenge for 9/11 has left 7 countries in ruins, killed hundreds of thousands, cities destroyed, famine, millions homeless and unable to work and earn a living to feed their families. Leading to refugee camps, mass migration, closing borders with rising racial hatred and a democratic peaceful resolution to the conflict nowhere in view. The current policy is a brown hardline of spend more money on the military, tougher sanctions, insults, no negotiations and on the brink of war with yet another country, Iran. A green approach to Iran was the Iranian nuclear deal worked out by negotiation. The deal was reducing tensions with Iran and working toward a long term peace. A torn up deal that has brought the US to brink of war is not a better deal. We need to go back to the green deal, but that will take a change of administration. Help us as we work to get a president that will negotiate, compromise, have a willingness to settle difference and to work on a new green/peace deal that ends war and address climate change. It can be done we just have to decide to do it. We can save the planet and divest from war. Join us as we work towards a New Green Peace deal.
CHINA CONSOLIDATES POSITION AS GLOBAL LEADER ON GREEN FINANCE, SAYS NEW RESEARCH
Date: 16 Nov 2017 – China has firmly established itself as a global leader on green finance, with both domestic policies and international leadership bringing real progress, but its needs to overcome some serious challenges to unlock its full potential, new research released today said.
World economic growth is bearing the costs and negative consequences of environmental pollution,
natural resource depletion and climate change. According to estimates by the International Energy
Agency (IEA), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Bank
and the World Economic Forum (WEF), green sectors, such as clean energy, efficient building and
construction, green infrastructure, water and pollution treatment, will require several trillion dollars of
global investments in the coming decade.To propel the transition towards a green economy, green
finance needs to be scaled up. In 2016, the G20 chaired by China, included green finance in the G20 SummitCommuniquéfor the first time as a financial solution to bridge the funding gap, generating a consensus on jointly promoting the development of green finance.
Changing climate forces desperate Guatemalans to migrate
Drought and shifting weather are making it difficult for many small-scale farmers to feed their families, fueling a human crisis.
STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY GENA STEFFEN
This article was created in partnership with the National Geographic Society.
The Green Economy Report was compiled by UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative in collaboration with economists and experts worldwide. The authors debunk several myths and misconceptions about the economics of “greening” the global economy, and provide timely and practical guidance to policy makers on what reforms are needed to unlock the productive and employment potential of a green economy.
This report, which was released on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September 2015, speaks to the multiple benefits – economic, health, security, social and environmental – that an inclusive green economy can bring to humanity. Such an economic model sees growth in income and employment from investments that reduce carbon emissions and pollution.
The global report of the UNEP Inquiry argues that there is now a historic opportunity to shape a financial system that can more effectively finance the development of an inclusive green economy. This opportunity is based on a growing trend in policy innovation from central banks, financial regulators and standard setters, who are incorporating sustainability factors into the rules that govern the financial system.
The UNEP Inquiry into the Design of Sustainable Financial System results, released in late 2015, demonstrate a growing trend in policy innovation from central banks, financial regulators and standard setters, in both developed and developing countries, who are incorporating sustainability factors into the rules that govern the financial system. Additional research and understanding will help the international financial system prioritize the green economy agenda and propel green growth.
The Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) seeks to put sustainability at the heart of economic policymaking. The Partnership supports nations and regions in reframing economic policies and practices around sustainability to foster economic growth, create income and jobs, reduce poverty and inequality, and strengthen the ecological foundations of their economies. PAGE is a direct response to the Rio+20 Declaration, The Future We Want, which called upon the United Nations System and the international community to provide assistance to interested countries in developing, adopting and implementing green economy policies and strategies. Bringing together the expertise of five UN agencies – UNEP, ILO, UNIDO, UNDP and UNITAR – and working closely with national governments, PAGE offers a comprehensive and coordinated package of technical assistance and capacity building services.
Our mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, we work through our divisions as well as our regional, liaison and out-posted offices and a growing network of collaborating centres of excellence. We also host several environmental conventions, secretariats and inter-agency coordinating bodies. UN Environment is led by our Acting Executive Director.
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