A Green New Deal is a framework that originated in the United Kingdom in 2008 by the New Economics Foundation as way to simultaneously challenge the emerging global financial crisis and the threat of global warming.
The Green New Deal (“GND”) has since rebounded across the Atlantic Ocean and become a touchstone for movements for climate action, class, gender and racial justice. Underlying the framework is a recognition that the exploitation of people and planet are two-sides of the same coin and that true ecological sustainability can only take place in an environment where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, and has access to a guaranteed living income. Energy democracy can be read in this context as a key plank in the GND platform.
There has been some criticism within Australia that the GND is too much of an American-framework. Nonetheless, an underlying recognition that climate is a class-issue, and that workers in fossil fuel industries should have their incomes and employment rights protected through new opportunities that build on their skills remains important. That’s why Cooperative Power has signed onto Friends of the Earth’s open letter to the Prime Minister calling for Australia’s first Climate and Energy Jobs Target. We encourage you to do the same as well!
Meanwhile, an unusual alliance of unions, environmental groups, community groups and businesses (including some of our member organisations like the United Workers Union) have come up with a localised version of what the GND might look like in Australia under the label of a Real Deal. Cooperative Power ourselves are even featured in the Real Deal report as a case study of practical social and environmental transition in action.
The report does not pretend to set out entirety of what a GND might look like but it does go into some useful prefigurative details and set ous out five key benchmarks to guide the development of a Real Deal:
The pandemic exposed pre-existing inequalities and injustices that must be addressed for good.
We need bold community vision for an economy that serves us all, and a plan to make it happen.
A Real Deal is generated by the active participation of people in decisions that affect them.
Collaboration is the foundation for a Real Deal that can deliver long-lasting solutions.
The future is open and unwritten but switching across to us at Cooperative Power is one way to build up the social power necessary to win a new economic, ecological and social order where every person is treated with dignity and respect. We are one way to join the many movements for a GND/Real Deal in Australia.