KEY ARGUMENTS What does the Green New Deal offer?

The Green New Deal has been designed to build economies and societies that will work for all people and the planet we share, now and in the future. This creates environmental, social and economic benefits by:

  

  • Saving money and generating revenue

  • Stopping dangerous climate change

  • Protecting natural resources

  • Creating decent green jobs

  • Rebuilding social justice

  • Healthy lifestyles and prosperity for all

  • Boosting education and training

  • Empowering youth

  • Fostering innovative, competitive industries

  • CREATING sustainable, resilient economies

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Avoiding future climate-related costs

The costs of tackling climate change now are modest, totalling some 2% of EU GDP per year, far less than the EU Member States spend on defence. However, this percentage will rise sharply the longer we wait. Moreover, the future cost of climate change resulting from a business-as-usual approach would far exceed the outlay required today to make the transition to low-carbon economies. There is a strong economic case for frontloading investments: otherwise the costs will go up year by year. Learn more


Spending less on dirty energy

The EU is highly dependent on imports of fossil fuels, on which it spends between 2% and 3% of GDP every year (close to €300 billion), so there is a strong economic case the drastic reduction of this dependence. The greatest potential for cutting costs lies in investing in energy efficiency, an area in which the EU is currently lagging behind. The European Commission has suggested that increases in energy efficiency could deliver savings totalling almost €200 billion. Learn more


Additional public revenue

The serious fiscal stress that EU Member States are facing has hurt their ability to provide public support for the green sector. In this context, the Green New Deal offers fair ways of generating significant additional public revenue, e.g. by tackling tax flight and taxing the financial sector, which was responsible for the crisis and has benefited tremendously from taxpayer subsidies but has not paid its fair share of taxes in the past. Moreover, a stronger Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and carbon taxes could help to generate substantial additional revenue. Learn more

Mainly private sector money needed

This study concludes that by far the largest share of funding required to finance the Green New Deal will come from commercially profitable investments made by the private sector. There is a sufficiently large potential pot of private savings and available financial assets. Some public-sector support to stimulate private investment and kick-start the Green New Deal will also be important. This support could take a number of forms, including tax credits, subsidies, feed-in tariffs, or co-financed green investments. In most cases, even modest public funding can attract significant private funds. Learn more

Global warming is undeniable

The latest IPCC report shows that scientists are more certain than ever about how humans are changing the climate and how dangerous it will be if no actions are taken to reduce carbon emissions. Climate change is already hitting us hard and its impact will only intensify as the rate of change continues to accelerate. Learn more

Climate change does not spare the richer countries

Some decision-makers from the richest countries often seem to believe that whatever turns climate change takes, the world will always find a way to adapt to it. But the recent natural catastrophes in the USA, Australia and Europe show that this is far from being the case, even in regions of the world that have the resources to invest in research and development, technologies and infrastructure. Learn more


Impacts of climate change on European Islands

A study commissioned by the Greens in the European Parliament explains the impact of climate change on European islands in areas such as security, migration and biodiversity and also evaluates the costs of inaction in key areas. Learn more

Climate change, deforestation, desertification, and biodiversity loss all chart the decline of our environment. Vital resources are being exhausted. Our economies are failing to take a long-term view, yet the degradation of our environment poses a threat to us all. At the same time, the importance of biodiversity – the millions of biological species constituting our ecosystems – for human health is increasingly being recognised.

As part of a new, more responsible approach, the Green New Deal has launched a major effort to protect the environment and preserve our natural resources for future generations. This objective underpins every policy put forward by the Green New Deal – whether transforming production or our lifestyles.

Learn more about how the Greens/EFA in the European Parliament are championing the protection of our natural resources.

Green jobs. Successes and opportunities for Europe

Unemployment is one of Europe’s most pressing problems. At the same time, the climate and environmental crisis is becoming increasingly serious. There is a way out: by greening our economies, we can provide high-quality green jobs to fight unemployment and simultaneously combat climate change and environmental decline. A brochure by the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament highlights Europe’s opportunities for creating green jobs and showcases the efforts made by the Greens to boost green employment. The brochure also describes how green jobs have successfully been created across Europe. Learn more


Green policies for green job creation

Given the seriousness of the EU’s current unemployment problem, the fact that the Green New Deal is expected to generate a significant number of additional jobs takes on extra significance. While jobs will be created in green industries and services across a whole range of skill needs, jobs will also be lost in the dirty industries, so policies that support the retraining of workers are very important. A low carbon transition fund should be set up with the aim of re-skilling workers and preventing structural unemployment. Energy-efficiency-related jobs in the construction sector can help to re-employ nearly a million jobless low-skilled workers. Learn more in the report ‘Funding the Green New Deal’ commissioned by the Greens in the European Parliament.


The employment dimension of the Green New Deal

A discussion paper by the Greens/EFA in the European Parliament spells out Green policy solutions for creating and providing adequate training for green jobs. It advocates facilitating a transition to a greener, more inclusive society, and details the EU funding needed to support the GND. Learn more in the Greens/EFA discussion paper.


Transforming the economy to create green jobs

A policy paper by the European Greens explains that the green transformation will develop new activities in sectors as diverse as energy, transport, construction, agriculture, education, health and social care. Similarly, existing activities must be redesigned to optimise their resource and energy efficiency. There is potential to create new employment throughout the value chain, from R&D to production, distribution and servicing, and to transform existing jobs into high-quality green jobs across the economy. The greening process can start right now, in all sectors. Read the policy paper 

Rebuilding social justice – at the core of the Green New Deal

The goal of the Green New Deal is to deliver sustainable quality of life to everyone on the planet. This requires bold measures to ensure the fairer redistribution of wealth and make society more inclusive. The green transformation process must be socially just, too, so safeguarding the social security of workers and citizens during and beyond the transition is at a core element of the project. Learn more in the European Green party’s policy paper on the social dimension of the Green New Deal.

Fight unemployment, create decent work and social inclusion

The Green New Deal offers a strategy for fighting unemployment, creating decent work and improving health and safety. It aims to deliver a better work-life balance and a secure future as well as to safeguard welfare rights. This includes high-quality services of general interest that are available and accessible to all, including social and health care services. It also includes creating decent work for all. Learn more in the Greens/EFA discussion paper on the employment dimension of the Green New Deal.

Reaching gender equality

Despite huge improvements in gender equality in recent decades, women are still discriminated against in a work context, for example with respect to their pay, precarious contracts and involuntary part-time employment. Even green jobs are male-dominated, especially in science and technology. The Green New Deal also sets out to tackle such imbalances. We cannot afford women's exclusion from the transition to a green economy! Learn more in the European Greens’ policy paper.

Fair financing, reducing inequalities

The Green New Deal is financed fairly. It includes not only tackling tax flight, but also taxing the financial sector which caused the  crisis and then benefited from extensive taxpayer bail-outs, without ever paying its fair share of taxes. Green taxes on pollution and resource use replace other, more regressive taxes such as social security contributions and income taxes that apply to low-income households and hamper job creation. Moreover, Green tax revenue could be recycled by supporting energy-efficiency measures in low-income households and introducing tax exemptions on a minimum number of kilojoules consumed per household, the goal being to reduce inequalities. Learn more in the report ‘Funding the Green New Deal’.

Strengthening the solidarity economy

Solidarity-based business activity, local lending and the issuing of small loans and micro-loans should be supported as much as possible. Social enterprises, neighbourhood solar installations and wind turbines, cooperative initiatives, alternative bartering networks, regional currency schemes or trader networks are steadily growing in importance. The Green New Deal supports these initiatives, linking social justice concerns with entrepreneurial activity. Learn more in a publication by Green Members of the European Parliament.

Respecting our planet's ecological limits is what distinguishes the Green New Deal from other investment plans. We need to prevent our planet  from reaching its breaking point. At the same time, we must give all human beings around the world a chance of prospering. This means that industrialised societies like ours need to redefine what kind of prosperity we want as well as our lifestyles. This is a tremendous challenge…and opportunity!


A post-growth society for the 21st century

Economic growth is usually considered the default mechanism for ensuring prosperity.  In a world dominated by declining growth rates and ecological restrictions, the Green New Deal invites us to think outside the box and develop strategies not reliant on growth for pursuing prosperity, designing employment policies, pension and health systems and fighting inequality. Learn more about the challenges and opportunities of a post-growth society.

Work more? Work less?

A central goal of the sustainable transformation of our economy is to create high-quality green jobs. However, if we want to ensure prosperity and a decent quality of life for all, within the physical limits of our planet, old recipes will not work. Working time could play an important role in the system change required to attain these objectives. Working less is likely to improve quality of life for all, ensuring a better balance between work and leisure or family time. By prioritising free time ahead of productivity and consumerism, a collective reduction of working time could promote more sustainable consumption patterns, increase community involvement, and improve the distribution of roles between women and men. Learn more

Why we need a Green New Deal? Choosing a life worth living

The Green New Deal is a transformational endeavour that will create space for everyone to live, work, consume, relate and move, while respecting the physical limits of our planet. Change cannot be centrally imposed and then implemented from the top down. It is prompted by citizens, associations, companies and local communities undertaking small steps individually and collectively, and also by government action. Both bottom-up and top-down efforts are necessary, and they complement each other. If we are serious about radically changing the direction and purpose of our society, we need to question ourselves about four key elements of change: our relations with people, things, time and space. Learn more

For a better work-life balance

A just transition to a more sustainable society also needs to include a radical rethink about how we organise work, about the dividing line between paid and unpaid work, and about the gendered distribution of care. The greening of the economy should go hand in hand with a new approach to life offering a proper social work-life balance, with periods of gainful employment, education, family life, caring, time out, voluntary work and retirement all intelligently designed, to everyone's benefit. In the process, income and time must be evenly distributed between the sexes, with equal demands placed on men and women. Learn more in a discussion paper by the Greens/EFA in the European Parliament.

 

Everyone is entitled to education, training and lifelong learning!

A policy paper by the European Greens on the social dimension of the Green New Deal explains the aim of establishing every worker's right to training and lifelong learning. Education, too, is an entitlement and should be provided for and accessible to everyone. The trend in the current economy, particularly in the present crisis, is to hire and fire rather than invest in people's qualifications and training. Training, and lifelong learning strategies in particular, should be considered as investments rather than costs. Learn more in a policy paper by the European Greens.


Education for a sustainable society

The shift to a green, knowledge-based economy, calls for a training and skills offensive, and the basis for lifelong learning and vocational training is high-quality basic education for all. Failed education is the root cause of many problems, including exclusion, discrimination, unemployment and poverty. The Green New Deal is designed to ensure that education systems guarantee everyone access to knowledge, skills and appropriate support. Learn more in a discussion paper by the Greens in the European Parliament. 

Empowering youth

Europe is experiencing unprecedented levels of youth unemployment. Millions of young people are out of education, employment or training and at risk of exclusion, and commentators are already talking about a 'lost generation'. Meanwhile, governments continue to make empty promises while counter-productive crisis management policies persist in destroying what is needed to give young people a future, especially in southern Europe. The Green New Deal reclaims young people's entitlement to a decent life, including their right to work and be involved in decisions about the future.  Learn more about how the Green New Deal reclaims a future for young people in Europe.

Competitiveness through green leadership

By taking a lead in being green, the EU could generate additional exports and enhance growth. Many energy-efficiency projects are expected to have a positive internal rate of return because of substantially lower energy costs. Also, the economy would benefit from less exposure to volatile fossil fuel prices, for it is estimated that unless additional measures are taken the EU may soon have to import up to 70% of all the energy it consumes and 90% of its oil. Decarbonising the European economy will lower the EU's total energy costs, saving as much as up to €350 billion per year by 2050. Were Europe to take a leading role in clean technology, it could generate an additional €25 billion per year from exports. Learn more


Green taxes boost competitiveness

There is significant room for further environmental taxes to be offset by reduced labour taxes. 50% of all tax revenue in EU Member States stems from labour taxes, compared with the 6.1% raised by environmental taxes. This serious imbalance is counterproductive, because labour taxes discourage employment. Shifting the burden towards pollution and resource extraction would increase the demand for labour and enhance the competitiveness of labour-intensive sectors while at the same time stimulating green investments. Learn more


Claims about industrial flight are exaggerated

Empirical studies have shown that claims about industrial flight prompted by appropriate European carbon pricing are exaggerated. Under the EU's Emission Trading System (ETS), with no free allocation of allowances, less than 2% of the EU's emissions are at risk of being driven abroad. Anyway, even if the EU moves faster than other regions in the world, it is only a matter of time before they, too, tighten their regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, so any cost savings achieved through delocalisation are likely to be only temporary. It is crucial to remain mindful of the fact that the costs of tackling climate change now are modest, but will rise sharply the longer we wait before taking effective action. Learn more

Innovation is key in the industrial 'green revolution'

Green industrial policy, the centrepiece of the Green New Deal, is more than a platform for industries developing environmental technologies. Instead, it provides us with the instruments we need to promote a whole range of fundamentally new innovations essential for enabling the successful green transformation of our economies and industries. Learn more in a report published by the Green European Foundation.

The Green New Deal offers us ways of setting our economic system on new foundations, a basis on which our children and grandchildren can subsequently build. In this way, we can build crisis-resilient, humane, eco-friendly economies that will be successful both today and in the future.


Mitigating the carbon bubble and building a resilient financial system

Public and private financial institutions are continuing to pour millions into fossil fuel companies, inflating their share prices, as if their fossil reserves will always sell on the market. This is a mistaken assumption, because their reserves must be kept in the ground, as stranded assets, if we are to halt dangerous climate change. Popping this bubble could create a carbon shock that has severe knock-on effects for our financial system. The most cost-effective way of mitigating this risk would be to embrace ambitious climate and energy policies that lead to a swift, decisive transition to a low-carbon economy. Learn more in a report commissioned by the Greens/EFA in the European Parliament.

The macro-economic and financial framework of the Green New Deal

This European Greens' policy paper describes how we can establish an economic system that serves people and the planet, how financial markets can be made to serve the real economy and how to establish effective and sustainable economic governance, both in the EU and globally. Learn more in a policy paper of the European Green Party.

Green New Deal to stabilise the euro

The EU Member States are spending more and more on imports of oil, gas and coal and other non-renewable raw materials. Not only companies, consumers and the environment suffer from this dependence: the high costs of these imports have led to a sharp increase in new net borrowing by several EU countries and are therefore threatening the very stability of the eurozone. As a result, some Member States have accumulated external debts, giving them an unsustainable trade deficit. By greening our economies, the Green New Deal could render most expensive imports obsolete, which in turn would reduce macroeconomic imbalances, stabilising the Euro. Learn more in a publication by a Green Member of the European Parliament.


Strengthening regional economies to enhance stability

Strengthening regional economic cycles, for instance in eco-friendly agriculture and local trade, services and funding structures, is a necessary complement to globalisation. Devolved elements in the economic system enhance the stability of the whole system and mitigate the effects of crises. Learn more in a publication by Green Members of the European Parliament.