Emerging from the Emergency – Build Back Better

  1. WHAT CAN WE DO NOW to channel this Covid upheaval to build a greener fairer world out of the ashes?
  2. How can we prevent reinforcement of global finance, with its march towards climate and ecological disaster?
  3. How can we stop short term emergency measures from becoming long term deregulation, or restrictions on our rights? (member of Haringey Labour Climate Action)

There are so many thinkers writing about global emissions, financial systems and consumption and how to emerge from the Covid-19 catastrophe in better shape than before. And against them are so many powerful forces still pushing their usual interests. So how can the majority, who want a fair and clean world, prevail?

Until the public have a good grasp of what was wrong ‘before’ and what can be done now, those in power will try to get back to the old ways. The global financial system underpins the lifestyle of the privileged and the poor yet could be adjusted now to be fair. Just as the US and UK economies were quickly transformed in WW2 there are measures that could be taken straight away.

The difficult bit is to turn around the fixed mind sets of those in power.

[Superscript numbers at the following bullets refer to the References in the strip at the end]

   1. Messages for the public to grasp – Build Back Better

the proximity of death in shared calamity makes many people more urgently alive, less attached to the small things in life and more committed to the big ones, often including civil society for the common good.”10 Public pressure, arising from a new awareness, is fundamental to a recovery that builds a greener fairer world.

  • The finance sector was screwed even before the Covid lockdowns2 BUT THERE IS A MAGIC MONEY TREE5
  • Capitalism can’t cope with a pandemic2
  • Covid-19 is a dress rehearsal for climate change8
  • Production and transport causes air pollution18, consumption drives the Air Pollution and Climate breakdown15
  • Stringent changes to avert climate breakdown will not be as bad as the Covid economic collapse11
  • Global problems need global responses eg:
    • the value of global research into viruses, and global corporation in developing vaccines and in innovative protective products15
    • China helping Italy, UK and US in Covid emergency “we are all waves in the same sea12
  • Business As Usual is heading for a 4.1degC rise!!! 

       2. Re-engineer Global Finance

Never before has the global economy suffered a shock of this scale all at once. In the US alone, at least 17 million people have lost their jobs in the last three weeks. A severe global recession is now inevitable.” There is a stark choice – shore up a high carbon recovery or create a low carbon recovery.

  • The outcome of disasters is not foreordained10
  • The global economic and financial systems could be re-engineered to benefit the worlds population and planet2
  • Powerful incumbent forces will change the rules to advantage high carbon industries18, 19, 20
  • The new money that has been created by central banks ends up accumulating in rich individuals’ bank accounts5 but could go to jobs and infrastructure [see heading schematic]
  • the costs of a global crisis are bound to vastly exceed those of its prevention6
  • Global competition on death figures could be replaced by competition on serious carbon reductions (see Climate Action Tracker on shortfalls in pledges)
  • Countries will only be willing to help climate if all do – else a free ride for some15
  • Keynes advised on a reserve currency rather than dollar. $ drives financial systems1
  • Cost of recovery will either come from future generations or from today’s poor15
  • climate action could accelerate the recovery by creating jobs, driving capital formation, and increasing economic resiliency6
  • the main way to offset this lower oil price effect is to raise the carbon price inversely to the falls in oil prices, and to deal with these perverse incentives with carbon border prices15
  • not to price carbon is to distort trade15

    3. Emergency measures that public will accept

If “the bottom 50% are disproportionately hit the backlash could make France’s “yellow vest” protests look very tame indeed.”9

  • State help must come with climate conditions
  • Polluters paying. Raising carbon price
  • Health and Key workers to be valued from now on
  • Vehicle industry restart to only produce Electric Vehicles and batteries
  • Deliveries to only be low carbon
  • Cost of grid upgrades to be spread across consumers, removing disincentives for small generation
  • Insulate and install heat pumps with additional renewables – 2 million new jobs promised at election
  • Universal broadband coverage
  • Real living wage and affordable housing
  • Fair flying allocation
  • Community enabled
  • Minimum effort, maximum carbon reduction
  • Reduced material consumption to reduce carbon15

We are currently in the midst of a battle for the world. On one side are the thinkers who know how to keep the planet healthy and the world a better place. On the other side are those who want to maintain the privilege of a tiny minority, regardless of the legacy to future generations.

1.We can make sure the public understand the complex global financial system and the ‘Magic Money Tree’ nature of money5.

2.We can then pressure those with power to direct the recovery to a green recovery.

3.We can call out all unnecessary restrictions on our rights and insist that emergency measures are directed to protect the planet and the livelihoods of global citizens.

References A-D are to Models and Tools that can be used to tackle the sheer complexity of issues and actions.