No need for Little Britain but for a Green New Deal for Europe

From New Internationalist Easier English Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

No need for Little Britain but for a Green New Deal for Europe

Because of the climate crisis we need to think about different ways of working with Europe, with or without Brexit, say David Adler and Pawel Wargan.


People hold up signs in a climate strike after the five-day Summer Meeting in Lausanne Europe (SMILE) of the Fridays for Future movement in Lausanne, Switzerland August 9, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

In June 2015 at the meeting of the G7 in Germany, Prime Minister David Cameron protested to the international press about calling his country ‘Great Shrinking Britain’. There was an idea that US diplomats always joked about Britain’s place in the world and Cameron was angry. ‘Britain is a serious global player,’ he insisted. ‘We are not shrinking.’

Four years later, the United Kingdom is seriously shrinking. Boris Johnson is in Downing Street and that more or less makes it certain that the UK will leave the European Union. The possibility of a hard Brexit is making people think about independence for Scotland and reunification for Ireland. The UK looks smaller every day.

The UK’s is leaving the international stage at the worst possible time. The climate and other environmental crises are getting worse all around the world. This means that governments must work together for a green future. Boris Johnson is talking about his wonderful Brexit and at the same time the country has its hottest summer on record. This is painful to watch.

Activists in the UK want change. With the idea of the UK Green New Deal, they are calling for fast decarbonization and changes in industry and many MPs are listening, it seems. ‘Britain needs its own Green New Deal,’ Caroline Lucas of the Green Party wrote in the Financial Times newspaper. ‘Let’s have a Green New Deal for the UK now,’ Ed Miliband of the Labour Party wrote in The Guardian newspaper.

But a domestic Green New Deal means nothing without working with other countries. The UK creates only 1.2 per cent of global greenhouse emissions. A ‘green industrial revolution’ may create new jobs for Britain’s unemployed, but will make only a small difference to global environmental destruction.

What can we do?

Some climate activists understand the dangers of leaving the international stage and want to cancel Brexit. Professor Mary Kaldor at the London School of Economics says, ‘We must help to build a Europe that could help us with these dangers,’

But Britain’s exit from the EU does not mean its exit from Europe: Why can’t we have international co-operation that does not involve a second referendum?

The true story

To unite Leavers and Remainers around an idea of environmental justice, we should call for a Green New Deal for Europe that brings all the countries together to share finance, production, best ways of working, and to do something about Europe’s history of colonialism and resource extraction with or without EU membership.

In a new report on ‘Internationalizing the Green New Deal’, we talk about five important ways in which the UK can work with its European neighbours for just changes, for example, a Green Energy Union, investing in renewable energy, and central banks working together.

Many say that Brexit takes attention away from domestic problems. But the same is true at the international level. Activists in the UK are hoping for internationalism with the possibility of Remain in the EU. But the climate clock is ticking. We cannot wait for Brexit or no Brexit. We need a Green New Deal for Europe now. And the good news is that we can get it with or without Brexit.


(This article has been simplified so the words, text structure and quotes may have been changed)