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Toward a Global Green New Deal

Though the 2008 financial crisis created an impetus to reinvigorate multilateralism, global paeans to cooperation ultimately did not lead to lasting solutions. Now that uneven economic recovery is combining with deteriorating environmental conditions to threaten humanity itself, world leaders must finish what they started.

GENEVA – The “Green New Deal” (GND) proposed by progressives in the United States cannot be achieved in isolation. To tackle climate change and inequality together, all countries will need to agree to new rules for international cooperation.

The start of such a rethinking began a decade ago. In April 2009, the G20 met in London and promised to deliver a coordinated response to the global financial crisis, followed by a future of more robust growth. Then, in December of that year, world leaders meeting in Copenhagen under the auspices of the United Nations promised big cuts in carbon dioxide emissions, to limit global warming to 2° Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The first conference ended with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announcing a “new world order” founded on “a new progressive era of international cooperation”; the second ended in disarray. Yet, looking back, the false dawn of that “new progressive era” has proved to be the bigger obstacle to a secure and stable future.

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