The time is now. We must push our government hard for a New Deal. A deal that is good for people and the planet. It must be more than light green. It must focus on regenerating our planet.
Governments around the world have been intervening in the economy in a way inconceivable only four months ago. As deaths from Covid-19 come down, our attention is turning to how we emerge from lockdown. The economy will not look good. Public debt will be at unprecedented levels. Unemployment will have soared. Many companies will have failed. It will be the biggest challenge our generation has faced, at the same time as dealing with the biggest challenge humankind has ever faced – the climate emergency.
So as we bring the economy back to life, we must not put the old economy back on the rails. That will lead to environmental disaster and even greater wealth inequality. In the UK it is great to see businesses calling on government to ensure a green recovery and the Commission on Climate Change saying that we must rebuild the nation whilst delivering a stronger, cleaner, more resilient economy. Around the world, there are similar calls to government.
This is the last decade we have to avert catastrophic climate change.
The New Deal was Roosevelt’s response to The Great Depression in the USA. Roosevelt’s New Deal required a coalition between Democrats and Republicans. Our New Deal requires coalitions within countries and between countries. Our new deal will need to be a global deal. Roosevelt’s New Deal focussed on 3-Rs: relief for the unemployed, reform of the financial system and recovery of the economy. We will need these 3-Rs but ours will need another. Our New Deal will also have to have Regeneration heart and centre: regeneration of the planet’s ecosystems on which we depend.
As we all know, a crisis is too good an opportunity to waste.