Departure lounge ramblings on music, places, climate change and stuff outdoors

Inclusive climate action and the Green New Deal

There has been so much said and written about the Green New Deal put before the United States’ Congress by the remarkable New York Representative, Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez, that I hesitate to add anything more. However, it really is worth noting how coherently the Green New Deal Resolution melds action to tackle climate change, with measures to counteract the obscene inequality and wage stagnation that has built up over decades of neo-liberal political supremacy in the USA (and my home country of Great Britain).

Thus the resolution starts with the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change’s conclusion that the only science-based target to tackle the climate crisis is to constrain global average temperature rise below 1.5 degrees; but also takes as its evidential starting point “hourly wages overall stagnating since the 1970s…the third worst level of socio-economic mobility in the developed world before the Great Recession…[and] the greatest income inequality since the 1920s”, including a specific focus on the racial and gender wealth divide.

The climate justice movement has been a progressive force for some time and Pope Francis made headlines a few years ago by stating that it is impossible to tackle climate change without simultaneously reducing inequality, and vice versa. At a city level, mayors are already putting inclusive climate action into practice, including in the United States. Just yesterday, Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles announced he will close three gas-fuelled power stations, while previously he launched a $100m initiative to improve home energy efficiency in households on low-incomes.

Yet the Green New Deal Resolution still strikes me as a significant step forward because of the clarity of the connection that it makes between inequality and climate action, and the fact that it has so quickly mushroomed into a national movement in the most powerful country on Earth, whose President is doing everything he can to undermine climate action. It could be sowing the seeds of an international demand for a socially and environmentally sustainable model of political economy.

I could go on, but that would just be to replicate what has already been said and perhaps the best service markontour can provide to those interested in the US Green New Deal is to provide a link to the full text of the resolution, and the advice that it is well worth ten minutes of your time to read it.


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