Abel and Noga argue that the time for carbon taxes and green initiatives has passed. Here they argue for a revolutionary Green New Deal.

The climate crisis is a political choice. Those in power know exactly what they’re doing; choosing profit over people is fatal favouritism. This is an active decision, and it’s one that is causing immense damage not just to the economy – to use that nebulous term – but to real working people, to their families, to their communities. When our government supports the burning of fossil fuels, our future goes up in flames. The destruction caused by cyclones Idai and Kenneth in Mozambique and the drought afflicting India are not anomalies: they are simply the latest in a series of disasters that will continue to intensify if our leaders do not take urgent action.

As young people, our future depends entirely on the choices made by leaders today, and to see their inactivity is more than disheartening; it’s condemning us to a post-apocalyptic future. Our generation has grown up through the financial crash and we know what it’s like to live with uncertainty: it’s terrifying. People our age are defined not by technological advancements or peace treaties, but rather by a never-ending list of crises, emergencies and injustices. This situation will go on until those in power fulfill their real duty, which is not to themselves and the elite, but to working class communities, who stand to suffer the most from the climate crisis, despite having contributed the least. The reliance on headlines and vote-winning must be swept away to invest in our future, to transition to a healthy and just society before it’s too late.

This transition is not an abstract concept; there is a practical alternative to the self-destructive system under which we are living. We are normalised to inequality and political inaction on suffering, but we can break down these crumbling pillars to which our leaders so stubbornly cling onto as they fail to see that the roof is falling in. Through a people led Green New Deal, we can deliver real climate justice, via a complete overhaul of our system, to create a new structure prioritising all life on Earth.

The Green New Deal campaign, which youth strikers have propelled to the forefront of our conversation, is calling to rapidly and completely decarbonise our country, to demolish social and economic injustices, and to protect vital and threatened habitats. What others call radical must become the new normal, necessary for a livable future. For too long, corporate criminals have pushed the idea of ‘green capitalism’, but last year’s IPCC report was clear that any capitalist system is “incompatible” with climate action. Instead of binding ourselves to traditional, outdated models, we must challenge ourselves to reject the deadly prioritisation of power and profit, and to reclaim our society through a Green New Deal. 

By Abel Harvie-Clark and Noga Levy-Rapoport