How Climate Change has Supercharged the Left

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The climate emergency is stirring radical politics across the world. Most notably, the left wings of both the Democratic Party in the United States and the Labour Party in the United Kingdom have committed themselves to programs known as the Green New Deal. Across Europe, the Greens now rival right-wing populists in their political energy.

For the established environmental movement, this surge in attention has come as something of a shock. The original green movement of the 1960s and 1970s had strong radical elements in its social and economic vision. But for much of the 1990s and 2000s, “Big Green” went mainstream. When it came to climate change, government regulation and investment were unfashionable. Market-based solutions focused on emissions trading and carbon pricing were the flavor du jour. Global climate negotiations became a giant diplomatic roadshow.

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