A Green New Deal?
If the world is to have any chance of limiting climate change to a 1.5-2°C temperature rise, substantial and sustained investments in low-carbon technologies and infrastructure will have to be made. While some investment will come from the private sector, governments must also play a significant role.
Proponents of “Green Keynesianism” argue that public investment (through a “Green New Deal”) can achieve full employment and environmental sustainability at the same time.
The prospects for Green Keynesianism increased substantially in the fall of 2008 with the eruption of the global financial crisis (GFC). The GFC disrupted the prevailing economic orthodoxy, and deficit-funded public spending became not only politically acceptable, but also popular in many countries.
Despite this, none of the G20 countries took the opportunity to adopt a comprehensive Green New Deal in the wake of the GFC. Instead, they took an ad hoc and piecemeal approach to green investments in their stimulus packages.
Kyla Tienhaara, Canada Research Chair in Economy and Environment, examines what opportunities exist today for a Green New Deal in Canada and the United States in light of the significant changes in the political landscape of each country since 2008. Her research involves case studies of green investments at the national, provincial and state levels, as well as an examination of the capacity of global institutions to facilitate or constrain such initiatives.
The project’s theoretical component explores how Green Keynesianism can be further developed to address limits to growth, as well as the issue of inequality and the need for a “just transition” to a renewable energy-based economy.