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Europe’s Green Deal

The Green Deal announced by the European Commission is a demonstration of European social democracy at work. A mixed economy, combining markets, government regulation, the public sector, and civil society, will pursue a mixed strategy, combining public goals, public and private investments, and public support.

NEW YORK – Europe has done it. The European Green Deal announced by the European Commission is the first comprehensive plan to achieve sustainable development in any major world region. As such, it becomes a global benchmark – a “how-to” guide for planning the transformation to a prosperous, socially inclusive, and environmentally sustainable economy.

To be sure, the tasks confronting the European Union are daunting. Even reading the new document is daunting: a seeming welter of plans, consultations, frameworks, laws, budgets, and diplomacy, and many interconnected themes, ranging from energy to transport to food to industry.

Critics will scoff at the European bureaucracy. But this is bureaucracy in the finest Weberian sense: it is rational. The goals of sustainable development are spelled out clearly; targets are based on the time-bound goals; and processes and procedures are established in line with the targets. The overarching objectives are to reach “climate neutrality” (net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions) by 2050; a circular economy that ends the destructive pollution caused by plastics and other petrochemicals, pesticides, and other waste and toxic substances; and a “farm-to-fork” food system that neither kills people with an overly processed diet nor kills the land with unsustainable agricultural practices.

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