Make no mistake, for many of us there are tough economic times ahead. The question is do we return to the pre-covid economic policies that encouraged the rabid consumerism that has caused the climate crisis, or do we stop and think – How can we fix our economy and address the climate issue at the same time?
A recent Oxford University study has found that government funding directed into green projects create more jobs, deliver higher short-term returns per dollar spend and lead to increased long-term cost savings, by comparison with traditional fiscal stimulus.
Professor Cameron Hepburn, Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment, University of Oxford, brought together a team of internationally-recognised experts to carry out the research, including Nobel prize winner, Professor Joseph Stiglitz and well-known climate economist Professor Lord Nicholas Stern.
But if you just want to know their conclusion – here it is:
“We emerge with the recommendation of five policy items (plus one item specific to LMICs) that are well-placed to contribute to achieving economic and climate goals. These are:
1. Clean physical infrastructure investment,
2. Building efficiency retrofits,
3. Investment in education and training to address immediate unemployment from COVID-19 and structural unemployment from decarbonisation,
4. Natural capital investment for ecosystem resilience and regeneration, and
5. Clean R&D investment.
Now is the moment to turn something bad around into something good.
While the vested interests of the wealthy 1 % would dearly love us to go back to the resource gobbling pre-covid economy in which they thrived, we have a chance to turn things around by recognising that government spending on green projects will deliver a better economy and a better world.
So..here’s my new measuring stick question for this election..
Which party policies offer the best practical way forward to creating a fairer economy that does not promote the exploitation of people and the planet ?
I’ll be offering you my analysis in the coming weeks.
Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.