Oxford University’s call for a green stimulus for the economy and Polly Toynbee’s demand for a dramatically fairer reversal of the impact of “wealth on health” could both be addressed by a nationwide Green New Deal programme (Poverty kills people: after coronavirus we can no longer ignore it, 5 May).
This would allow a way out of the economic collapse caused by coronavirus, while rebuilding our social infrastructure and tackling the climate emergency. It can also provide new jobs and huge opportunities for businesses. At its heart must be a labour-intensive social infrastructure that rebuilds our austerity battered public services. The prioritisation of green infrastructure will require a shift of economic priorities towards more decentralised local economies that reduce carbon emissions and air pollution, minimise the throughput of raw materials, provide long-term food security and protect biodiversity.
This radically new approach will involve listening to climate experts, funding the transition needed through massive government borrowing and introducing policies to curb our “freedoms” to travel, eat and consume in ways that threaten the planet. It is a Green New Deal imperative to tackle both the social and climate crisis that must emerge as the exit strategy from coronavirus.
Convenor, UK Green New Deal Group