The financial and economic crises since 2008 have rocked the foundations of our global economic system and are still threatening billions of people around the world. However, it has also shown that governments and decision-makers are able to take dramatic political steps and invest unheard of sums of money to combat these crises. We must not forget that humankind is facing multiple crises beyond the financial and economic ones: The earth and its inhabitants continue to be threatened by climate change, poverty and increasing socio-economic inequality.
For decades, Green movements and parties, particularly in Europe, have highlighted the inter-connection between the way we run our economies and environmental degradation. And moreover, that positive changes in methods of production and consumption as well as in the economic system can help in alleviating these crises altogether. Since the dramatic and spiraling events caused by the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, this has become even more apparent and has entered mainstream political discourse. “Green Economy” has become the new buzz word in many capitals and companies. The United Nations dedicated even its conference on the 20th anniversary of the Rio Declaration on this topic. However, there is concern that “Green Economy” has largely been promoted as an engine for innovation and new export opportunities only, not taking into sufficient account the social and environmental challenges ahead of us.
Particularly Green parties in Europe realized that in all of the turmoil, the climate and global development crises risk being pushed aside. They emphasized the need for a different, comprehensive economic model that provides not only a way out of the current economic crisis but also a pathway to a more just and less carbon-intensive economy which is imperative for a more sustainable future. They developed a concept for a Green New Deal, taking the notion of Roosevelt’s New Deal, which brought the United States out of the great depression in the 1930s. The Green New Deal has greatly impacted political debates and influenced decision-making on the European level and in many EU member states. The recent successes of the German Green party in particular indicate that this Green New Deal has been widely accepted by the citizens to be a credible way to combat the multiple crises.
While Israel was initially less affected by the global financial and economic crisis in terms of economic growth rates and its banking system, the social protests of 2011 brought to the forefront that despite promising economic growth, there is a widening gap between rich and poor, an unsustainable increase in cost of living, and a growing debt burden that is putting at risk the social welfare and education system for future generations. Beyond this, Israel is also increasingly affected by the impact of climate change and environmental degradation.
The Heinrich Böll Foundation is thus very pleased to present “Economics of Tomorrow – Green Policy for Economic Resilience” in cooperation with the Economics of Tomorrow Forum and Life & Environment. This document is an accurate attempt to combat all major crises in an integrated and sustainable fashion. It takes a broad look at the economic system, societal developments and at the constructive role that the government and decision makers can play It offers a comprehensive and sustainable agenda for Israel to measure its economic development more holistically, use policy tools to steer the economy into a greener and equitable direction, to provide clean and affordable transportation to everyone and to build an energy market that provides security, combats climate change and helps the environment as a whole.
The “Economics of Tomorrow – Green Policy for Economic Resilience” is a detailed agenda for anyone, who seeks to tackle current economic, social and environmental challenges and to build a sustainable future for Israel.