The new Democrats in the US Congress already have done something no American politician has managed for decades: to get people talking about massive – and massively transformative – public investment as a real prospect. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s plan for a Green New Deal to fight climate change envisions massive spending on carbon-free products, services and infrastructure. It would be larger than any other American government undertaking since Franklin D Roosevelt’s original New Deal and the US mobilisation for the second world war. This is true no matter which measure is used: real expenditure or expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic product. A bigger Green New Deal would also will be more affordable in the long run because of what is known as the snowball effect. The pace of climate change will accelerate as early harms damage the environment’s capacity to compensate for later ones. This leads to accelerating costs and negative feedback. As a consequence, it is clear that acting faster will yield greater impact than acting sluggishly. And acting faster here means spending more now rather than later.
FT 3rd Feb 2019 read more »