mazzucato61_ Leon NealGetty Images_UKlabourgreen Leon Neal/Getty Images

A Progressive Green Growth Narrative

Although many countries have the means to direct new investment toward decarbonization and other socially and environmentally beneficial outcomes, many voters still regard such efforts as economically harmful. For the green transition to get off the ground, it will need a more compelling narrative.

DAVOS – With voters in 76 countries heading to the polls in 2024, this is a record-breaking year for democracy. Yet it coincides with an alarming rise in right-wing populism, which increasingly blames policies to address climate change for voters’ economic hardships. Despite the clear potential of green initiatives to boost incomes, productivity, and economic growth, the progressive left struggles to articulate a compelling counternarrative. If the false dichotomy between economic prosperity and environmental sustainability persists, the green transition will lack the political support it needs to succeed.

Consider the debate in the United Kingdom over the Labour Party’s £28 billion ($35.5 billion) Green Prosperity Plan, which it has presented as a key instrument to “make Britain a clean energy superpower.” Instead of dwelling on the sums being spent, the conversation should focus on what it will take to complete the stated mission. The point is not to throw money at the problem and hope for the best; it is to offer a strategy for mobilizing massive private- and public-sector investment toward a collective goal.

To make clean energy the engine of its industrial, financial, and innovation strategies, Labour needs a new narrative. It needs to show that a mission-oriented government working with businesses to invest and innovate in an outcomes-oriented way will result in new skills, jobs, productivity gains, and higher wages.