The Green European Foundation, estimates that in Europe the Green New Deal could cost between 150 and 250 billion euros (we understand it as an annual amount), thereby achieving a 20% reduction in emissions from CO₂ and increasing energy efficiency, in addition to building systems for renewable energy production. Of course, we cannot consider that all this capital, small and insufficient to solve the serious problem of climate change, is a mere expense. Instead we should contemplate it as an investment partly of immediate return due to the decrease in unemployment that would represent, in addition to energy savings. The wealth it would generate is unquestionable, much more than the investment required. We must also consider private investment, currently paralysed, which would generate added wealth of high quality, as it would adapt to available human capital or, if necessary, it would create it.
The European left, however, is proposing more drastic measures and greater investment, which could be quantified at between 250 and 350 billion euros per year. This money would be divided into two groups of investment, that of research and development for companies producing technology, and that of implementation of that technology. And it would serve to reduce the energy bill by 300 billion euros, in addition to generating exports worth 25 billion euros in clean technology. Green European Foundation also forecasts the creation of six million jobs and the wealth that accompanies it.
In the 1930s, the US government found itself with a society in debt and with little liquidity. Public finances however were able to set the banknote making machine in motion. Now we find ourselves with a very indebted society, including banks and governments themselves. The debt of states that can contribute the most to a possible Green New Deal is currently unpayable. However, this money exists, and even more than would be needed, and it is circulating very slowly and with much uncertainty in the hands of pension funds, banks and credit societies from which nobody asks for money, and at an interest rate that is almost always negative. Depending on the ideology of who governs, this money can be returned to the hands of the states, or by conveniently legislating it can be used to amply finance the Green New Deal. To achieve this, all that is needed is political will, forgetting certain economic dependencies or class relations.
And just as climate change has no political colours nor flags, it has no borders. It’s affectation and the problems it entails are planetary. It is not worth solving it only in Europe and the US, forgetting the rest of the world; nor is it worth changing the productive models of the first world, but not those of consumption. The transfer from a consumerist economy to an austere one, from a polluting one to a green one, cannot currently be done only by governments but with the complicity and collaboration of the societies that choose them.
A couple of years ago, when in a paper on ecology and sustainability we were asked about the program of a party, wrongly catalogued as anti-system and anti-capitalist, we replied that it was perfect, maybe the only 100% sustainable party. The problem is that putting it into practice means that 6 of the 7,5 billion that currently populate the planet needs to disappear. And it is not difficult to prove it.as a matter of fact we have it in front of us. James Lovelok, now 100, explains it in his book “The Revenge of Gaia”.
One of the most serious problems we have is how to manage globalisation, i.e. how to get the 6 billion who are currently queuing up to enter the consumer world, how to do so in a sustainable way. And that society that is waiting, part of it already bursting into consumption, is maintained thanks to plastic and lacks the capacity to process it; and moves around with waste engines from the first world, which disposes of them because they are pollutants, sending them to the third world through aid programs.
Those 6 billion inhabitants use plastic for everything from fetching water, packing and storing food, to shoes and clothing. In fact, if we enter a house in the developing world, we will find more plastic than in a home in the developed world; and if we walk along any street, town or countryside in the less developed areas, we will see plastic in small pieces of broken pipes, bags, bottles, espadrilles and even clothes Altogether in a quantity unimaginable, horrific and unrecyclable. As far as diesel is concerned, who has not been surprised to find in those countries the old buses, lorries, taxis and even railway machines and ships which were seen before on European streets, railways, rivers and ports?
Today the planet cannot provide enough raw material, not even to satisfy the approximately 1.5 billion human beings who have entered the consumer economy. Therefore, one of the first measures that should be taken is to reduce the number of human beings that inhabit it with a policy of reproductive austerity, at least until we discover or generate enough resources without sacrificing the balance of the planet. Climate change is inevitable, as well as the disappearance or extinction of a good part of human beings; however, what Lovelok and the rest of fearless scientists do not explain is that it is in our hands to decide how to do it. How to limit and reduce the number of human beings that today populate the planet.
In Europe the problem is to transfer this change of economic paradigm and development to a national, regional and even local level.
Without a real fiscal and budgetary union, it is impossible to create the conditions for all countries to participate at the same rate. The existence of different central banks becomes useless, as well as counterproductive. It is essential to centralize research in a supranational entity, with authority to supervise the different research centres, whether public or private, and to administer the public resources they may receive. In the same way, a new central entity would have to be created for energy, with the same authority over public and private companies.
Let us remember that the EU already has a Commissioner for Energy and Climate, Arias Cañete, who curiously has a degree in law, without any study of economics or environment, and with interests in oil companies.
In addition to all this, all regulations on means of transportation for people and goods, and on production and recycling of industrial products must be unified, including those related to urbanism, tourism and all those that may affect the European political strategy on climate change.
Unfortunately, human beings tend to use means without assessing their pollution capacity or the damage they may cause to future generations, with the conviction that it will be future generations who will solve the problem thanks to hypothetical new technologies or research expertise nowadays lacking. In a short time we will have to manage with what our grandparents threw into the sea, when they already knew that it could not absorb it. Tons of radioactive waste, millions of tons of filled or battered armament, without caring if they contained heavy metals and chemical materials. Not to mention the millions of tonnes of ships that the German navy sank in the Atlantic, loaded with the same weaponry. We find ourselves at the gates of this time bomb, having to rebuild our parks, create a dense network of biodiversity between fields, repopulate huge areas currently arid, organize fire brigades even in Alaska, northern Canada and Siberia, create an international sea police force, and rebuild entire cities with the rules laid down by the Green New Deal. All at the same time when our cities are being built violating current EU regulations or common sense (just walk around l’Hospitalet de Llobregat, the European Calcutta, and you’ll see). Of course, if we are not even able to shade our schoolchildren with four trees, how can we demand or pretend that countries such as Ethiopia, Nigeria or Brazil obey the directives of the first world?
In the current political situation, unless we believe in gods that miraculously awaken the minds of those who live only in the immediacy, the solution can only come through the creation of large plants to absorb greenhouse gases. And it is our responsibility and free decision that these plants or new industry are owned by supranational entities, external to the big corporations who have propitiated the situation in which we find ourselves. Or we can choose that are these same corporations which with national and international aid, and through research financed by all, manage that industry and thrive even more.