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Should the Green New Deal be Local or Global?

  • Author Jukwan Lee
  • Date2020-09-01

While the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is yet to subside, governments in major countries have put in place the largest-ever economic stimulus packages to overcome the pandemic. The most outstanding feature of these packages is the call for green stimulus and recovery. Governments learned from history and the experience of the 2008 global financial crisis justifies such large-scale and rapid government spending. Also, today’s Green New Deal policies are like déjà vu of past green growth policies undertaken by major countries. The 2008 Green New Deal is considered successful locally but not much success was achieved at the global level. Since most policy objectives were focused on local economic recovery, not on global mitigation of climate change.

There are three reasons why the Green New Deal in 2020 should be more global. First, it is necessary to take into account the multilateral environment agreements established to date, especially the Paris Agreement, in the Green New Deal. Since Nationally Determined Contributions(NCSs) are the heart of the Paris Agreement, as well as a minimum necessary effort to limit global warming, the Green New Deal needs to be tailored to achieving NDCs’ goals Second, the Green New Deal can have significant impacts on global production and trade. The EU’s Green Deal relies on carbon taxes for its financial resources. In order to counter the carbon tax, domestic production processes should be decarbonized or develop new products designed with zero-emission goals. Also, major global companies declared their transition into 100% renewable energy during production and are demanding compliance from supply chain companies. Third, the Green New Deal should not violate the WTO rules in order to prevent unnecessary conflicts and disputes globally.

The Green New Deal should be global, not just local. The Paris Agreement, global production and trade, and WTO rules are closely related to the Green New Deal and tremendously affected by this stimulus package. The domestic Green New Deals will create international spillover effects and international rules and regimes will assess their consequences. Therefore each country’s Green New Deal should not only engage their respective local economic and social situations under the COVID-19 pandemic but also incorporate global efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change and proliferate the greener economy. Investing in a post-carbon economy is not just a way to avoid a climate catastrophe but should be the most prosperous way forward by taking it globally.

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