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What is the Green New Deal?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2016
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The Green New Deal was a plan proposed by numerous economists and environmentalists in 2008. Proponents of the Green New Deal based the plan on President Franklin Roosevelt's ambitious New Deal of the 1930s which was used to spur economic recovery in the United States during the Great Depression. Many of the core concepts of the Green New Deal were very close to those modeled by the original New Deal: job creation, targeted use of government funds to stimulate innovation, and responsible modes of banking and doing business.

In 2008, a worldwide economic crisis developed even as numerous national governments were recognizing the fact that the planet was also facing a very serious ecological crisis. As the economic crisis deepened, some people began to express concerns that the need for conservation was being overridden by the desire to deal with the economic problems. In response, environmentalists and economists banded together to argue that a Green New Deal could help resolve the economic crisis while also saving the world, a tough combination to beat.

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The goal behind the Green New Deal was to stimulate the global economy by promoting environmentally-friendly measures. One of the most immediate effects of the Green New Deal would be job creation in environmentally-friendly industries such as green technology, but the terms also included generous government investment in ecologically-friendly innovations, and the creation of government agencies to survey the global environment and make recommendations about ecosystem management, resource ability, and sustainable production of goods. These agencies would be akin to organizations like the Works Progress Administration established during the New Deal to provide jobs while also benefiting the United States as a whole.

Roosevelt's New Deal was helped along by the outbreak of the Second World War, an event which proved to be a major boon to the American economy. But it also directly benefited not only the American people, but the rest of the world, since America's status as an economic powerhouse meant that the rest of the world faltered along with the American economy. The Green New Deal could replicate the New Deal on a global scale, providing localized employment from Azerbaijan to Zaire while promoting a new era of environmentally-friendly innovation, production, and thinking.

In order to work, the Green New Deal would require international cooperation and innovation, with some nations potentially making significant sacrifices to promote the Green New Deal. However, environmentalists argued that without the Green New Deal, the world would be facing serious ecological problems which would only get worse, especially as former developing nations joined the developed world, increasing their demand on the Earth's resources in the process. Many economists also supported the Green New Deal, arguing that it would be an excellent way to revitalize the global economy while creating lasting employment in the environmentally-friendly sector and promoting technological innovation.

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