The Green New Deal Narrative Fueled by the “New Deal 4 Europe” Campaign

Nicola Vallinoto
WFM Council member

The American economic and social theorist Jeremy Rifkin cites the “New Deal 4 Europe” Campaign as the first citizens' campaign launched by EU political activists to promote the Green New Deal. In his last book titled “The Green New Deal. Why the Fossil Fuel Civilization Will Collapse by 2028, and the Bold Economic Plan to Save Life on Earth

Jeremy Rifkin underlines that “A new vision for planet's future is quickly gaining momentum. Facing a global emergency, a younger generation is spearheading a global conversation around a Green New Deal and setting the agenda for a bold political movement with the potential to revolutionize society. Millennials, the largest voting bloc in the country, are now leading on the issue of climate change”.

In the “Power to the people” chapter, Jeremy Rifkin explains “where we stand at this inflection point in history”. He explains: “There is a growing sense that we are paying a terrible price for the fossil fuel civilization that we built and exulted in for more than two centuries, and that is now taking us into a series of climate-changing events and a new reality that we can barely fathom. Humanity is experiencing a great awakening of a different kind. We are beginning to see ourselves as a species and just beginning to ponder our common fate on a planet where nature's rhythms and patterns are becoming alien. A younger generation is coming forward with an intimate sense of the darkness that is unfolding around them, and a steely determination to break through the lethargy that has allowed us to slip to the very edge of a planetary crisis.”

“They are angry, determined, and motivated, and unwilling to listen to why we can't do this and can't do that, mulling over what's realistic and what's not, at a moment when realism itself seems so unrealistic and inadequate to the mission ahead of us. However, we are not totally in the dark and without possibilities. There is a way forward. A path has been laid across the EU and the PRC, and even here in the USA ..., that can take us on a new journey away from a death driven Second Industrial Revolution and into a life-affirming Third Industrial Revolution.”

In the chapter, Rifkin describes how the EU political activists launched the Green New Deal: “By 2007, Europe had surpassed the US and become the idea factory and deployment engine for decarbonizing society. That year, the EU was finalizing its 20-20-20 formula, binding the EU member states to the Great Disruption that would bring about an ecological age. These new protocols required all the EU member states to increase their energy efficiency by 20 percent, reduce their global warming emissions by 20 percent, and increase their generation of renewable energies by 20 percent by the year 2020, making the EU the first major political power to establish a formula, legally binding commitment to address climate change and transform the economy of hundreds of citizens.[…] In 2009, the European Greens picked up the theme of a Green New Deal for Europe: towards a Green Modernization in the Face of Crisis. The report was the policy document that the European Greens took into the 2009 EU elections as their playbook, and it was championed by the EU's most prominent green leaders, Claude Turmes and Daniel Cohn Bendit.”

“[...] A few years later, the European Federalist Movement took the Green New Deal forward with a petition titled “New Deal 4 Europe: Campaign for a European Special Plan for Sustainable Development and Employment”, and used it to launch a 2015 European-wide Citizen Initiative to mobilize support for a transition into a zero-carbon green economy. The Green New Deal narrative continued to gain momentum over the years, becoming a theme in the 2019 European elections.

To sum up, ground had been laid for a Green New Deal movement over a period of a decade. That movement is now coming to fruition with the ascendance of a powerful, new, Millenial- and GenZ-driven political revolution in both the European Union and the US.”

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