Donald Trump issued on Monday an Earth Day proclamation that omitted any mention of climate change or the cavalcade of environmental threats posed by deforestation, species loss and plastic pollution. The president chose instead to praise the benefits of a “strong market economy”.
In short, science is our best hope to enable informed choices about our future. Big ideas like president Roosevelt’s New Deal also gave our nation hope for reversing the downward economic spiral of the 1930s with government programmes that still benefit us today. However, when it comes to a safe climate, science and policy have operated in a vacuum.
The Green New Deal borrows its name and ethos from the New Deal – introduced in the 1930s by then US president Franklin D Roosevelt to kickstart an economy crippled by the Great Depression. But are strategies which echo the needs of the 1930s and 1940s – ending the Depression and defeating Nazism – suitable for the rapid transition from fossil fuels that defines our needs in the early 21st century?