The European Green Deal: The Proof Will Be in the Pudding
On December 13th, the leaders of the European Union agreed to adopt the European Commission’s strategy to combat climate change, called the “Green Deal”. This €100 billion action plan lays the ground for a proactive cooperation between Member States, aiming at carbon neutrality by 2050. Such a vast programme encapsulates all sectors of the EU’s activity, so as to amend and improve industry, agriculture, transportation… in a way that fosters ecological transition. Although another implicit goal of this policy is to strengthen European unity through common environmental objectives, it has already suffered important setbacks in that matter, questioning the set of shared values it is trying to put forward. This article will explore the goals and limits of this policy.
The origins of the Green Deal
The Green Deal stems from simultaneous demands in Europe and the United States for a major governmental investment in renewable energy sources. It is best epitomized by the English Green New Deal Group, which released a report entitled “A Green New Deal” in 2008, calling for the re-regulation of finance and increased taxation in order to tackle climate change. The expression itself derives from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s policy in the 1930s that was meant to deal with the violent effects of the 1929 economic crisis upon the American society. This series of policies combined conjunctural reforms (such as pumping in federal funds to pare down the unemployment rate through public benefit construction works for instance) and structural reforms (e.g. the separation of commercial and investment banking) in order to reflate the American economy.
It is that legacy of state interventionism that the Green New Deal takes up and advocates. The shift from a productivist capitalism to a greener society requires such structural reforms, which can only prove to be efficient if they have force of law. The main idea is that if states can be held responsible for the deregulations that occurred during the 1980s, they can (and should) help re-regulating global economy so as to reach a “green growth”.