“It’s time to wake up. To take notice. To raise our voices. It’s time to build back better for People and Planet” – against the backdrop of the current COVID19-induced crisis, the motto of this year’s UN #WorldEnvironmentDay couldn’t have been chosen better!
Indeed, while the European Union’s COVID-19 Recovery Plan does have some green strings attached, the battle is waging on just how much of the bloc’s Green Deal will be realised through this ‘once-in-a-generation’ moment of government spending.
Find here The Progressive Post’s latest special Dossier: a collection of articles on How to Finance the Green New Deal. You will also find information on the upcoming FEPS annual flagship event – Call to Europe – which this year focusses on Climate and Gender Justice, as well as on the latest FEPS Talks podcast.
The EU’s “do no harm” is meant to exclude fossil fuels and nuclear power solution – but will it? Can the EU’s recovery plan also succeed in advancing green goals?– that is the question the LSE’s Iain Begg examines in his contribution. State investment in environmental projects could indeed be an effective way of boosting demand. However, there are a few details – like timing, what precisely the money is targeted at which benefits for the economy. The political battle is open – but a ” ‘double dividend’ of contributing to resolving the economic crisis while also advancing green goals” is fully possible.
Nancy Yuk and Michael Vincent from Greentervention warn that the “EU cannot afford to forget what Ursula von der Leyen called the EU’s “man on the moon” moment” in their contribution We can’t return to normal because the past normal was precisely the problem. They call for huge public expenditure now, as “it will have a high social and ecological payoff” In addition, they remind of France’s 2019 yellow vests movement: “we cannot rely on market mechanisms alone!“. Policies strengthening social and political cohesion are at least equally important”.
Nuno Almeida Eça from the European Parliament puts the question in a wider context: in his A new generation pact for a sustainable and resilient European economy, he argues that Green recovery is more than just making changes in technologies and production processes. The current pandemic has the potential to push the EU towards a leap forward, not only to a more sustainable future, but also in further integration. Bold leadership and bravery is needed now – but if it succeeds, it “would not only be a breakthrough in the bloc’s integration, but for the entire planet“.
How to direct funds towards projects that do provide public value, but do not generate much revenue streams? That is what Ludovic Suttor-Sorel from Finance Watch examines in his contribution Money for nature: bridging the green funding gap. Private funds can be steered to some of those projects, but it is “at best a partial solution,” only appliable if there is a source of revenue somewhere in the project. “Public finance will be needed at a scale that calls for national as well as EU budgets to invest directly and alongside private capital“. No question this will be about large sums – but “the response to this global pandemic shows what can be done when there is a will to tackle a crisis.”