A Green New Deal of the North

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Climate chaos is upon us. A recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that preventing climate catastrophe will require “rapid, far reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”. We need a clear plan to transition away from our current destructive energy and economic systems, which are based in exploitation and extraction, and into systems that are sustainable and just. And we need it now.

This document seeks to demonstrate how Canada can be a leader in creating comprehensive solutions to the climate crisis.

Canada is one of the highest per-capita emitters of carbon dioxide in the world. We’re one of a handful of rich countries that set the technological, economic and social patterns for what the planet’s poor majority see as a good life. We continue to benefit from the massive extraction and burning of fossil fuels. As such, Canada has a triple responsibility to put new ways of doing things into practice. Through bold action, we can transform the Canadian economy and become a global leader in responsible and sustainable energy production.

This task presents us with a historic opportunity to tackle many of our interlocking problems together, by challenging the exploitative nature of our current economic system. This is the promise of the Green New Deal. Its key insight is that for a climate transition to really work, it has to work for everyone: this means redistributing wealth and resources away from harmful activities and those who seek to profit from them, and giving regular people a say in who wins and loses as we move away from fossil fuels.

The just transition isn’t just from fossil fuels to renewables. It means removing the economic incentives and structures that got us to this crisis point, so that we don’t fall back into the same trap in the future.

And while everyone will benefit from a Green New Deal, the transition must address the structural inequalities and improve lives in communities marginalized by the current system. A just transition must confront and undermine the xenophobia and anti-migrant sentiment that are the hallmarks of reactionary forces.

We need several transitions:

  • from individual and wasteful consumerism, to the communal luxury of free time and high quality public spaces for all to enjoy;
  • from private ownership to public and cooperative ownership models;
  • from authoritarian corporate structures to workplace democracy; and,
  • from enclosing the commons to expanding the commons.

In short, from blind faith in the market to a clear vision of a good life for all. To that end, here’s are some key pieces we see a serious version of the Green New Deal in Canada including: MORE

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