Sunday, October 20, 2019

Europe's Green New Deal

The new President of the European Commission has made it a key plank in her platform. But some wonder if it is just greenwashing without a commitment to the values inherent to its goals and aspirations.

"The incoming Commission president proposes a Just Transition Fund to bolster the existing Cohesion Funds for regions and rural areas, and a Farm-to-Fork sustainable food strategy to support the 'vital work' of farmers. Under von der Leyen’s presidency, protecting the ecosystem is to become a cornerstone of all policy decisions: she promises a cross-cutting Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 that will reconcile the concerns of trade, industry, agriculture and economic policy."

However the Green New Deal for Europe said it is not enough. They call "for massive investment in sustainable infrastructure and jobs – to be financed entirely by Europe‘s public banks. Where von der Leyen proposes €1 trillion of investment in a sustainable Europe over the next decade, turning parts of the European Investment Bank into Europe’s climate bank, the Green New Deal for Europe (GNDE) goes even further. To meet the scale of the twin crises faced by Europe – economic and environmental – GNDE will mobilise public banks to issue green bonds to raise at least 5% of Europe’s GDP in funding to bankroll the green transition."

Their 68-page report is here. They're hoping to get it on the EU agenda. Note that some of the funding for the public works section will be given to private companies that "advance Europe’s economic, social and environmental goals. Firms that reorient manufacturing towards recycling and repair, extend product life-cycles and shorten the working week will be given funding to support the transition. As will firms that put workers on boards and shift a portion of their profits towards a fund that pays workers a dividend and generates additional resources for the just transition" (p. 5).

Note: Rifkin supports public green banks providing funding for the infrastructure build up as long as those loans are conditioned on providers having 50% renewable energy by 2030 and all of it by 2040 (51:50).

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