Global Green New Deal: A Path of Possibilities


, by War on Want , ORDOÑEZ MUÑOZ Sebastian , VOSKOBOYNIK Danya

Toxic Waste from a Copper Mine spilled over the Apuseni Mountains of Romania
Source : Georghe Popa

The world faces unprecedented rising temperatures, a global crisis of inequality and a global ‘cost-of-living crisis’, which has been driven by the current economic system’s constant pursuit of profit colliding with inescapable ecological limits and geopolitical conflict. The post-COVID “new normal” has deteriorated social, economic, ecological, and geopolitical conditions: deepening environmental collapse, food and water insecurity, the militarisation of life, strengthened authoritarianisms, increased accumulation of elite wealth and power, unregulated technological sway over everyday life, and a global health care crisis – all driven by capitalism, patriarchy, and colonialism.

We need to rapidly build an economy that works for people and the planet. To move away from systems of limitless extraction and exploitation, towards those of care and repair.  

With the clock ticking, the lives, and livelihoods of millions in the global South already being sacrificed, and ecosystems at breaking point, deep systemic change is needed with real, holistic policy pathways that recognise the deeply interconnected nature of the crisis we face. This process of transition can’t be restricted to the global North or built on a new wave of extraction and exploitation of the Global South. The global community must recognise that, in order to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown, it is vital to centre the needs of frontline communities and the earth’s natural systems, and to acknowledge the role of the global economic system in creating the inequities that subject some of the world’s poorest communities to the worst impacts of this crisis they did not create.

This will only be possible when rich countries recognise their historic responsibility for these crises and undertake their fair share of action, with the global community working together in cooperation and solidarity to ensure everyone has the right to live with dignity.
Through this dossier we will explore the main contradictions, tensions and openings between Green New Deal demands in the global North and climate justice demands in the global South, and critically evaluate where there are alignments that activists in the global North should be pushing right now in allyship?  

From the Southern Eco-social Deal to the Tunisian Agrarian New Deal, from Just Transitions to the Managua Declaration, from the Feminist Agenda for a Green New Deal to the Red Deal, various proposals have emerged to combine policies that can build post-extractive alternatives and climate-just societies. The Global Green New Deal (GGND) is rooted in the breadth and visionary work of these initiatives.

"Communities Change the World"

What is the common thread that holds together these diverse proposals and visions? The Global Green New Deal is ultimately a story about possibility. We are facing a systemic global crisis, but this crisis is also an opportunity to use joined-up thinking to make our world fairer, more just and sustainable. We have a chance to reshape our systems through global measures to improve peoples’ lives in the context of a pressing climate crisis. Through mass egalitarian green investments, we can improve health and education, create dignified jobs, and protect precarious livelihoods, and deliver greater well-being for all.  

The GGND is an experimental and pluralistic spread of initiatives, which places intrinsic value on the diverse range of perspectives and voices of marginalised peoples. The world is vastly complex, and different approaches will be required for each geographic context. Thus, a GGND is rooted in an appreciation of the value of multiple possibilities and creative attempts directed towards the same challenges, stitching together diverse visions in a cohesive tapestry.

War on Want and our network of partners are calling for a Global Green New Deal to deliver ecological, racial, economic, and social justice, by refocusing our economies to protect people and the planet. In synthesising the many issues and demands from movements across the Global North and South that must make up a truly comprehensive and internationalist GGND, we have identified four tests against which interventions that set out to address the climate crisis should be measured. Through its four tests, this GGND offers clear criteria that distinguishes real climate-just action:

  • Does it keep us below 1.5C, with everyone doing their fair-share of effort?
  • Does it tackle inequality and poverty?
  • Does it allow us to thrive within planetary boundaries?
  • Does it uproot historical injustices and systems of oppression and build a society based on care and repair?

In working towards realising the four key principles above, the central premise of our GGND framework is that a just recovery from the climate crisis must guarantee the right of all living beings to exist with dignity by tackling the systemic causes of poverty, inequality, and ecological breakdown – addressing the historic responsibility of the global North while developing avenues for a fair and just recovery that respects our planetary limits and ecological systems.

The GGND needs to be part of the process towards leaping forward into a very different paradigm and a different way of thinking and being in the world. It is a theory of struggle and a world building project – we begin with an understanding of what movement power is, how we build it and how to rip the power from those who currently have it. A GGND is a political attempt to move from demands to investments, geared towards tackling our most profound systemic crises and building a sustainable, well-being economy. It is designed as a concrete political offering that can galvanise a powerful and diverse coalition capable of enacting it.  

While drawing on various streams, a GGND response is fundamentally anchored in two principles: courage and connection.  

Courage: Reimagining the economy on a planetary Scale. The Green New Deal is a metaphor for ambition, for meeting the ecological crisis in its magnitude, and having the courage to reimagine the economy on a planetary scale. The GGND is an orientation of boldness, gearing social and economic policy towards the global environmental challenge. Rejecting piecemeal approaches to systemic crises, it is a visionary proclamation not just of what we don’t want but of what we are for. It is an attempt to envision what the world could look like.  

Connection - A Life of Dignity for Everyone : The goal of a Global Green New Deal is ensuring a dignified and thriving life for all. Cutting across all GGND pillars and proposals, is a desire to improve health and well-being for all people. What is wrong about the economy is not the choices of individuals: it is a system, and one that must be transformed.   

In the following dossier we will learn from different perspectives, struggles, proposals, and approaches to the Global Green New Deal, cutting across its pillars: A Just Energy Transition in Colombia and Chile, Tax Justice as a Tool for Racial Justice, Food Sovereignty in Morocco, A Just Transition for the Fashion Industry, The Burning Case for Reparations, Transforming the Global Economy: Challenging the Energy Charter Treaty and Moving Towards Post-Extractive Futures.