The UN has called for a global “green new deal” and overhaul of the world’s financial order to tackle climate change and deliver on its Agenda 2030 sustainable development goals.
New measures are needed to raise and distribute $US2.5 trillion ($3.7 trillion) a year to developing countries, says a UN report, released alongside this week’s climate meeting in New York. The measures include new controls on the movement of money, demanding more from developed nations, targeting sovereign wealth funds and setting a global minimum tax rate for multinationals.
Meeting the demands of the UN’s sustainable development agenda for 2030 would require rebuilding multilateralism and “pursuing a financial future very different from the recent past”, UN trade and development secretary-general Mukhisa Kituyi said. The UN’s sustainable development agenda was supported by all governments in 2015.
The UN report comes amid calls for a new summit with leaders from China, the EU and the US to reshape multilateralism and replace the postwar Bretton Woods system that has set the current economic order.
Former ACTU secretary Sharan Burrow supported the move at a conference held on the sidelines of this week’s UN climate summit.
“If our multilateral structures are failing us and they don’t reform, then we are going to have to re-create some of the basis on which the world does business,” she is quoted as saying.
Outgoing UN renewable energy official Rachel Kyte said a new economic order was needed to reshape multilateralism and align all public investments with climate action.
The UN’s push for a new era of global intervention is at stark odds to Donald Trump’s address to the General Assembly this week. The US President told world leaders to reject “globalism” and to look out for the interests of their own countries first. “The future does not belong to globalists; it belongs to patriots,” he said.
Under the proposals, the US could be expected to provide up to half the funds to be redistributed.
Climate finance has been a key stumbling block over decades of UN talks on climate change.
China and India highlighted the issue as crucial to them taking action at this week’s meeting in New York called by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
A blueprint to reset the global economy and trade is set out in the UN report. It calls for a state intervention similar to the Depression-era New Deal policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt in the US.
The report says a global green new deal is the right policy framework to make a clean break with years of austerity and insecurity after the global financial crisis, help bring about more equal distribution of income and reverse environmental degradation.
It seeks a new generation of trade and investment agreements to support these policies along with changes to intellectual property and licensing laws.
“A changing climate is already causing severe damage across the world and posing an existential threat,” a UN statement said.
“Decarbonising the global economy will require a significant rise in public investment, especially in clean transport, energy and food systems. This will need to be supported by effective industrial policies, with targeted subsidies, tax incentives, loans and guarantees, as well as accelerated investments in research, development and technology adaptation.”