In 2007, Larry Elliott met a friend to discuss the financial crisis. Over the course of the evening, and several drinks, they cooked up the Green New Deal – a plan to deal with the effects of the economic crisis and the threat of climate change. They formed the Green New Deal Group and, though Gordon Brown and Barack Obama briefly flirted with the idea, it did not progress much further.
But in 2018, the youngest US congresswoman in history, the Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, picked it up and the idea has been gaining traction ever since. Ocasio-Cortez’s plan mixes old and new. She wants a living-wage job for anyone who wants one; universal healthcare; and basic income programmes as part of a “detailed national, industrial, economic mobilisation plan” that would ensure the US is powered by 100% renewable electricity, and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing, agriculture and other industries.