Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Global Green New Deal sign at COP26

Protesters hold a 'Green New Deal Now' banner during the demonstration outside the Bank of England. Thousands of people marched from the Bank of England to Trafalgar Square as part of the Global Day of Action For Climate Justice, as world leaders continued to meet in Glasgow for the COP26 climate change conference. (Photo by Vuk Valcic/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Urgently Needed: A Global Green New Deal From Below

Restructuring the international economic order to avert cataclysmic climate change demands bottom-up participation.

C.J. Polychroniou

Solving global warming is humanity’s greatest challenge. It can be done, but it is exceedingly difficult as it requires a fundamental restructuring of the world economy.

There are, for all intents and purposes, three paths of restructuring the global economic order in order to keep catastrophic climate change at bay: (a) dismantle capitalism; (b) shrink dramatically economic activity; and (c) implement a Global Green New Deal.

We have both the technological know-how and the economic resources to make the transition to a “green economy.” The only thing that’s missing from making this happen is the political will.

The first path is hardly realistic at the current juncture. Socialists everywhere are in retreat, while socialism continues to have multiple meanings and interpretations. There is not a single place on earth where a socialist revolution is brewing. In this context, I think we can safely say that the dismantlement of global capitalism through a world socialist revolution is nothing more than fantasy.

The second path is almost equally unrealistic, as well as exceedingly dangerous. This is what may be called as the “lazy” approach to tackling the climate crisis. A dramatic contraction of economic activity will lead to mass unemployment, rise in poverty to unprecedented levels, political instability, and social chaos. Neither rich nor poor nations will benefit from intentional policies to shrink economic activity, and surely no one can imagine any government in any part of the world embarking on such an undertaking in hopes that it will help save the planet from the menace of global warming due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

More important, reducing global economic activity won’t save the planet from global warming. As economist Robert Pollin has argued in Climate Crisis and the Global Green New Deal: The Political Economy of Saving the Planet (co-authored with Noam Chomsky), even if global GDP were to contract by 10 percent over the next 10 years (which, incidentally, would be several times larger than what was experienced over the global financial crisis of 2007-09), carbon dioxide emissions would be pushed down by precisely 10 percent (p. 117). So the world economy remains far away from reaching zero emissions, while workers suffer massive damage to their livelihoods.

The third path, the implementation of a Global Green New Deal, is the only realistic one for humanity to avert a catastrophic climate breakdown. A Global Green New Deal is essentially a call on all governments around the world to use the power of state intervention to halt global warming by stopping fossil fuel emissions and making a transition to clean and renewable sources of energy.  The Green New Deal will stimulate the economy while eliminating the bad side of growth.   

We have both the technological know-how and the economic resources to make the transition to a “green economy.” The only thing that’s missing from making this happen is the political will—in spite of  so many international climate summits having taken place so far.

Indeed, at COP26, the lack of political will among the world’s leaders to take drastic action to combat the climate crisis is more than obvious and incredibly disconcerting. “Tough talk,” but no commitment to a Global Green New Deal, which is why thousands of protesters took to the streets in Glasgow  during the COP26 conference.

As things stand, the most promising way out of the impasse lies with revolutionary activism. Change, as always, will take place from the bottom up. Indeed, a Global Green New Deal will materialize only when citizens of the world demand it.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
C.J. Polychroniou

C.J. Polychroniou

C.J. Polychroniou is a political economist/political scientist who has taught and worked in numerous universities and research centers in Europe and the United States. His latest books are The Precipice: Neoliberalism, the Pandemic and the Urgent Need for Social Change (A collection of interviews with Noam Chomsky; Haymarket Books, 2021), and Economics and the Left: Interviews with Progressive Economists (Verso, 2021).

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·


'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·


80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·


Progressives Rebuke Dem Leadership as Clyburn Dismisses Death of Roe as 'Anticlimactic'

"The gap between the Democratic leadership, and younger progressives on the question of 'How Bad Is It?' is just enormous."

Julia Conley ·


In 10 Key US Senate Races, Here's How Top Candidates Responded to Roe Ruling

While Republicans unanimously welcomed the Supreme Court's rollback of half a century of reproductive rights, one Democrat said "it's just wrong that my granddaughter will have fewer freedoms than my grandmother did."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo