This publication, “Sharing Solutions: Transatlantic Cooperation for a Low-Carbon Economy”, highlights the main lessons on how to build a clean economy despite economic and political challenges through transatlantic dialogue. It discusses how regions with a strong coal, manufacturing or rural economy are affected by climate and energy policies, and what policies can soften the impact of structural change toward a low-carbon economy.
Over the past two years, The Climate Network has connected policy makers, civil society actors and local stakeholders from the rural US to Central and Eastern European cities to share success stories in clean growth and emissions reductions. However, these regions share common economic and political hurdles. Within the US, the heated partisan divide in Congress, the budget crisis and limited power of the EPA makes the passage of a national climate bill seemingly impossible. Similarly, economic pressure is building across the Atlantic. With the Euro in crisis, record unemployment rates and growing resistance from manufacturing regions to lowering emissions, the ambitious emission reduction targets of the EU may be difficult to reach.
There is no quick fix to these obstacles, but policy solutions do exist that can help generate local jobs and strengthen the economy through renewable energy investments and policies such as the “feed-in tariff” (or Clean Contracts) and can help meet energy goals, such as Germany’s vision of having 80% renewables by 2050. Through dialogue with industry and farm organizations, it is possible to reach the US’s rural and manufacturing-heavy areas for which low-carbon strategies are essential. Faith groups and veterans’ organizations can help bridge the partisan divide and advance public support for progressive climate policy. In turn, sharing solutions between policy makers can deepen cooperation and best practice exchanges with European partners.
All in all, broader and deeper social and political alliances are needed in the U.S. and Europe if we are to meet the challenge of the profound and interlinked economic and climate crises. Eventually, we will need to reach across the divide and work together.
This report is the final product of the Climate Network: Transatlantic Solutions for a Low - Carbon Economy, a two year project of the Heinrich Böll Foundation offices in Brussels, Prague and Washington DC. It was released during the Climate Network conference, “Gaining Strength: Clean energy solutions for a resilient economy”.
Click here for Sharing Solutions: Transatlantic Cooperation for a Low-Carbon Economy (72 pages, pdf, 1.94MB)