What does the Green New Deal actually mean for my life?
To have an impact on the scale we need to tackle current levels of inequality and climate breakdown, the Green New Deal will need to change both what we do and how we do it – for the better.
The Green New Deal will build thriving public services – investing and expanding our health and social care, transport and education systems. And it will tackle rampant inequality by investing first in communities that need it most.
At the heart of the Green New Deal is the idea of a just and fair transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewables. That means workers in high-carbon industries will be supported to use their skills in less carbon-intensive roles and to retrain if necessary in careers of equivalent skill level, with their wages and pensions protected. The key thing is that nobody will be left behind as we transition to 100% clean energy.
The Green New Deal also promises a fair deal for low-carbon but undervalued jobs of the present – carers, cleaners, teachers, fruit pickers – and huge investment in the creation of millions of new jobs in things like making houses more energy efficient, protecting nature, and repairing things instead of throwing them away.
We hope to see a more open and accessible political system and economy. We hope the communities we live and work in will flourish as more people have financial stability, fulfilling jobs and time to relax. We hope to see the environment around us thrive and that everyone will feel the benefits of cleaner air, more green space and increasing wildlife. The Green New Deal means improvements – warmer homes, better buses and great public space – real prosperity for the 21st century.
What can I do?
You can back the Green New Deal in a number of ways. Visit our Get Involved page to sign our petition, join a local hub, or start a hub in your town with our support. Signing up to our mailing list means you’ll hear first about what action you can take to put pressure on politicians and to build the Green New Deal in your own community.
Mostly, we need you to tell your friends and family about the movement for a Green New Deal, why it’s needed, and encourage them to get involved too – that’s what movement building is all about!
How much will the Green New Deal cost?
Across all approaches and funding models, the reality is that the Green New Deal will involve billions of pounds in public investment. This may seem like a lot, but it’s worth having in mind that based on current trends, the costs of climate breakdown and the social and economic impacts of inequality in Britain are set to cost us far more.
Study after study has shown that acting early and decisively will ultimately save us money – and the longer we delay, the more costly action becomes. While this level of government spending sounds ambitious, we know we can afford it because we’ve done it before (e.g. the effort to rebuild our country/Europe after World War Two, and the hundreds of billions of pounds used to bail out the banks during the 2008 financial crisis). The long-term returns – both economically and the benefits of a liveable planet, resilient economy and caring society – make this a sound investment for our future.
How would we pay for it?
We can’t afford not to pay for a Green New Deal. If we fail to reduce the impacts of climate breakdown, the cost of cleaning up and of adapting to live on an unlivable planet will be unthinkable.
There are many possible ways to fund a Green New Deal. However, what is certain is that massive public investment is needed, and that funding this is a task for the government.
Some of the money needed can be found by diverting public spending away from things that are causing climate breakdown (e.g. ending tax breaks for fossil fuel extraction). The Government could also make greater efforts to stamp out tax dodging, which costs the UK billions of pounds every year. For more information on financial mechanisms we could use to fund a Green New Deal, read this pamphlet by the New Economics Foundation – Five ways to fund a Green New Deal.
2030 seems so soon/unrealistic?
While more time would be great, the important part is not the ‘end date’ but that we’re doing as much as we can, as fast as possible. Every year we don’t meet our emissions reduction targets, we increase the consequences of climate breakdown and the cost of taking action, while prolonging the struggles of millions of people suffering from poverty and social injustice. The Government’s target of net zero by 2050 gives the false impression that we can afford to work to that timeframe, when in reality the most important thing is what we do right now, and in the next few years.
Isn’t the UK already doing enough to tackle climate breakdown? What about other countries?
No government has done enough – let alone the UK. Right now, as a consequence of decisions and policies maintained by our Government, global emissions will continue to rise to a catastrophic level, and millions will continue to suffer due to the inequalities embedded in our system.
In addition, the UK’s historic emissions, the level of our current global consumption emissions and our role as a centre of global finance must all be taken into account – not just the emissions we generate specifically in the UK, which existing Government targets are based on. We owe it to the rest of the world to be making our true contribution, and also supporting the efforts of other countries in mitigating and adapting to the climate crisis through finance and technology – particularly those most vulnerable to the impacts of inequality and climate breakdown as a result of colonialism and exploitation.
Isn’t the market better at tackling climate change than the Government?
Currently, the market focuses on short-term profits for shareholders, protecting the interests of large corporations and super rich individuals. We’ve known about the threat of the climate crisis for decades and the market has had plenty of opportunity to address this, and yet 30 years of market-led climate action have led to more CO2 emitted after 1990 than had ever been emitted before. While we will need entrepreneurs and a wave of innovation to tackle inequality and climate change, a market focused on growth and profit margins will act in its own interests, not ours.
Government investment is crucial in all projects of a certain scale and importance. The moon landing was achieved by a huge government-funded programme in the US, the NHS was created and continues to be funded by the government through our national insurance payments, even things like smartphones and developing new medicines are innovations funded by government grants. The government has huge power to invest, and has the vantage point to fund projects that will benefit the public in a way that private funds just won’t prioritise.
How can we trust the Government to deliver the Green New Deal?
From history we know we can’t rely on politicians to deliver the scale of change we need by themselves. We’re building a powerful movement now to create the overwhelming public support we need to force the Government to act – but we also need that movement to last for the long-term, to ensure they deliver on their promises in a democratic way, and to play an active role in shaping what the Green New Deal looks like in practice.
How we operate
Does Green New Deal UK have a list of policies?
We have five defining principles which shape our idea of what a Green New Deal should look like. In general we don’t develop policy stances on single issues, as we want to focus on building a movement and feeding public discussions on a Green New Deal as a whole, rather than focusing on specific asks. Our principles guide how we evaluate any policy proposal related to the Green New Deal, and are applied by our local hubs to evaluate local policies. If a policy meets our principles, we’ll support it.
See more here: What is the Green New Deal?
Who funds Green New Deal UK?
We are currently funded by the European Climate Foundation, Oak Foundation and the Gower Street Foundation.
At the moment we are seeking funding from similar foundations who are aligned with our values.
How does Green New Deal UK relate to political parties?
We’ll work with any and all parties that support a principled Green New Deal. For those that don’t, we engage with them to the extent that that engagement can advance our objectives of building people power and political power. We are conscious of a long history of political greenwashing, and see maintaining the integrity of the Green New Deal programme as a crucial job of our movement in the coming years.
How does Green New Deal UK relate to the Government?
We’ll work with the Government to the extent it can advance our objectives. We’re not a policy organisation, and at times our most effective role might be to build pressure on the ‘outside’ for what aligned organisations are saying on the ‘inside’. Where productive engagement can occur we will do it – but we don’t hold back from criticising the Government for fear of harming a relationship.
Does Green New Deal UK welcome incremental change?
We celebrate successes however small they might seem. That’s not because increments are sufficient – we’re under no illusion that the Green New Deal is anything other than big, systemic and urgent. It’s because we recognise the power of small changes to lead to much bigger ones, but only if they are understood as such.