Transitioning Systems?

On coordinating the green transition.
Melanie Brusseler

The Biden Administration has taken to waging rhetorical war on the primacy of market-led capital allocation. In a (decidedly and perilously China-hawkish) Brookings Institution speech last month, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan declared the end of the Washington Consensus, which had rested on the “embedded assumption” that markets invest productively and efficiently “no matter what.” Decades of economic policy informed by this delusion — per Sullivan — have eroded infrastructural and productive capacity, driven financialisation, stagnation and inequality, and failed to (even begin to) deliver decarbonisation. In its stead, industrial strategy has returned. As Brian Deese — the midwife of its US resurgence and former Director of Biden’s National Economic Council — recently explained, industrial strategy takes as given that “the private market on its own, private actors operating to maximise their own utility, will end up under investing in areas of the economy that have strategic and economic significance.” Public investment and, in Sullivan’s words, “a deliberate, hands-on investment strategy” mark a new, green era of US state-led developmentalism.  

Decarbonisation at required pace and scale fundamentally depends upon the extent to which democratic planning displaces market coordination — private control — of investment. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and a broader suite of state interventions under Biden did not, in one fell swoop, do this. While the veto power of Joe Manchin’s swing vote in the Senate has been at the centre of debate over the IRA’s final form, his was not the only power shaping the contours of the legislation. Even as it repatterns the state-capital nexus, the IRA bears testament to capital’s strength.  

Rapidly transforming our global fossil based productive apparatus would require a dramatic economic mobilisation: maximally employing labour and existing capacity for green production and expanding that capacity through investment and coordination. Building on the common economic concept of full employment or capacity utilisation, we can think of such a programme as full green capacity mobilisation. Full green capacity utilisation and direct public investment pose political problems to the capitalist social order. As the economist Michał Kalecki described, full employment of labour disturbs the relationship between wage labourer and capital by eroding the latter’s disciplinary power in the workplace and over the working-class at large. Full capacity utilisation would also necessitate public coordination and public investment — including through public ownership — to an extent that threatens to supersede the primacy of private investment and private coordination which is itself both an expression and aim of political power. Democratic rule of economic life would surely attempt full green capacity utilisation; the IRA does not. There is a risk that the IRA is poised to attempt largely state-directed scaling of green investment through an approach the economist Paul Samuelson called “bribe to capital formation”: public funding intended to stoke a private investment boom that cannot guarantee a green transition, let alone a just one.  

Nonetheless, in both its content and, even more critically, in its deficits the IRA has suddenly reconfigured the coordinates of our climate conjuncture: state-led green transition planning is no longer a “yes or no” question; it is ever more urgently a “how” question. Political constraints thwarted the creation of new public institutions and a more generalised buildout of state administrative capacity to implement the IRA; however, they did not obviate the need to do so. Experiments in and contests over green state-building will be the central terrain of climate politics after the IRA and extending well beyond the US. Because other developed (but not developmentalist) states such as those in the European Union and the UK have announced intentions to respond to the IRA in kind, this terrain is now a transatlantic one.  

It is also a fraught terrain. Industrial strategy in transatlantic context has returned under the auspices of both decarbonisation and geoeconomic competition — with so far precious little to offer the Global South. For example, green industrial strategy premised on domestic green manufacturing has emerged as a policy priority in the European Union, following the energy crisis and the passage of the IRA. Yet, support for green developmentalist states in the Global South is absent; meanwhile, the material and social hazards of new green extractivisms mount. State-led green coordination in transatlantic context is nascent, if decisive; state capacity to execute coordination must be rebuilt. No matter the level of climate ambition, as this turn develops, we will encounter similar problems of state capacity bottlenecks as well as green technical hurdles that will drive cognate institution building and policymaking.  This is because, in transatlantic context, we share a history of neoliberal state capacity erosion and commonalities in decarbonisation project implementation that will require building institutions to perform analogous critical functions: from public financing, to price stabilisation, to grid planning. Above all, we share the imperative to wage more meaningful war on market coordination of the green transition by building substantive and systemic democratic coordination. This decisive decade for decarbonisation requires fundamentally reshaping economic coordination through and toward purposive public planning and undertaking. Capital will make its own claims to reconstitute the state through the transition and in the face of locked in climate destabilisation. Democratic coordination, through tools of public ownership and investment, is not only the indispensable means through which to deliver the transition; it is an end in itself.

Transatlantic collaboration on the iterative design and strategy of green planning policy can strengthen this turn and drive it towards more fundamental green transformation. Learning from the pressing project of jerry-rigging a planning apparatus in the US to implement the IRA is a critical opening. In what follows, we consider the imperative to transition from market to democratic coordination of the transition, the location of the IRA in this transition between coordination systems, and lessons from the IRA that an ambitious progressive government should heed as it turns to transition planning.

Transitioning Systems

Decarbonisation entails transforming capital and infrastructure stocks through investment and divestment. Such investment and divestment must be undertaken rapidly, often out of sync with existing capital depreciation and expenditure cycles, and without primary concern for private profitability. Market coordination cannot ensure such investment is undertaken at all, let alone in compliance with temporal (existential) decarbonisation targets, as private investment constitutively suffers from the profit imperative and the liquidity preference. Brian Deese is right to note this leads to structural underinvestment. Transitioning from a fossil system to renewable system is also not as simple as investing in green capital and infrastructure, even at a spectacular volume and rapid pace.

The fossil system — both an energy system and a broader economy that both rests upon and (re)produces it— is a complex integrated machine. It is physically constituted by fixed stocks of capital equipment and infrastructure, and more broadly composed by complex thickets of relationships between diverse segments of these stocks, inputs, labour, and socio-technical systems, institutions, or arrangements. This description also holds for a renewables-based system. Transition from one to the other requires managed changes in production and consumption through sequenced and targeted investment. Capital investment is not merely a matter of financing, which is endogenous and elastic; it is a matter of physical and social capacity. Asynchronicity can throw wrenches in these machines and violently convulse these thickets of relationships in ways that physically and politically stymie decarbonisation and broader economic functioning. Market coordination, as JW Mason describes, is constitutively asynchronous: nearly each cog in the machine is a private decision maker, acting in relation to the profit imperative and uncertainty. As he writes: “The faster and farther-reaching the changes in production, the harder it is for a decentralised market system to maintain coherence.”  

Because the fossil and renewables systems are incongruous with each other, transitioning also necessitates building and maintaining excess capacity in some areas, where synchronicity is also key. Consider electricity: variable renewable energy generation requires reserve capacity or firm power. Maintaining a coherent power system as renewables come to produce the preponderance of electricity means maintaining a certain level of reserve fossil gas capacity and its supporting infrastructure in sync with the buildout of clean generation and storage capacity — but not past it. Private asset ownership and market coordination cannot perform this synchronised dance of investment and divestment, nor bear the cost of maintaining excess capacity. More broadly, as Yakov Feygin argues because private investment in fixed capital is inherently unstable, public options for capital investment in capital-intensive but essential or “bottleneck” industries such as electricity or housing are critical for maintaining essential activities and stabilising investment by other actors within interconnected production networks.

Democratic economic coordination would divorce investment power from private control to directly ensure the installation of green capital equipment and infrastructure (and fossil divestment), both in general and in accordance with (iterative) coherent pathways. Importantly, economic democracy is not merely synonymous with state intervention, nor warranted only as a bulwark against the prospects of autocratic green state capitalisms. Democratic coordination also should not be confused with mere public declaration or arrangement of transition plans and pathways. Tools of public investment — public asset ownership, enterprise, financing institutions, and pluralistic decision-making apparatuses — are essential to implementing plans and pathways, both as public undertaking and for directing private investment.  

Transitioning from one coordination system to another is similar to that of the transition from fossil fuels to renewables: complex, contingent and incongruous. Social transformation is won in iterative pieces through and toward the transformation of existing and creation of new enterprises, institutions, and collective ways of deciding, acting and living together. The Inflation Reduction Act should be understood as a such a piece: it both decisively marks a turn (not revolution) to state-led transition planning and charts a clear course for near term political contestation to deliver further public investment, capacity building and public power.

The Inflation Reduction Act and Green Coordination

Two points are crucial for making strategic sense of the Inflation Reduction Act. First, the IRA very nearly did not pass the Senate last summer. Second, the shape and scope of its implementation and its broader political economic effects are still indeterminate.

In early 2021, the Biden Administration proposed roughly $1 trillion of climate spending across ten years in its Build Back Better package. This package went through contentious cycles in the House and Senate, ultimately stalling in the latter faced with Joe Manchin’s swing vote. The Inflation Reduction Act came together in the summer as a joint proposal by Manchin and Senator Chuck Schumer in the eleventh hour ahead of the Congressional midterms that fall. Not a single Republican voted for it. As Tim Sahay and Ted Fertik of the Green New Deal Network (which was instrumental in crafting and politically delivering the IRA) explain, the Biden Administration had turned to a public investment push approach to climate and economic policy in the face of political economic mega-trends: secular stagnation, Trumpism, the increased mobilisation of the contemporary climate movement, and perilously increasing establishment anti-China hawkishness. Meanwhile, Manchin came to embrace an energy security position following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with the result that the IRA contains support for fossil fuels as well. Sahay and Fertik stress particular design principles as key to politically delivering the legislation and in turn supporting decarbonisation goals, chiefly the moderately large volume of public funding towards green projects.  

The US Office of Management and Budget scored the IRA as carrying $369 billion of climate related spending across ten years, but this figure is now universally considered an inaccurate understatement. The IRA’s climate package consists of a suite of subsidies, primarily but not exclusively in the form of uncapped tax credits. This means Congress has not created a fixed $369 billion pot of money to allocate; instead, it offers endless federal budget to qualified recipients and projects who claim the credits. Moreover, credits can be stacked with other public subsidies to dramatically reduce financing and operational costs for decarbonisation projects. These subsidies target clean electricity and hydrogen production; consumer electric vehicle purchases; buildings and industrial production; and domestic manufacturing of clean tech inputs. Credit Suisse estimates that the IRA will thus spend roughly $900 billion over the same period and support over $1.7 trillion in public and private climate spending overall. This figure falls closer to the $1 trillion per year in spending the Roosevelt Institute in 2019 had found was necessary to decarbonize the US economy by 2030. However, the final figure will ultimately be subject to qualifying entities claiming credits and undertaking projects and is therefore highly contingent.  

Interpretation of the IRA by relevant federal agencies — translating legal code to practical implementation — is still live and carries high stakes. For example, interpretation of hydrogen production credits could either drive the expansion of renewable energy production or compete for it against the electricity grid. Moreover, as Robinson Meyer notes, by potentially subsidising project costs through tax credits, the IRA intersects with federal cost-accounting guidelines to rulemaking procedure, meaning agencies such as the EPA may now have more leeway to implement more aggressive regulations on carbon pollution. But the great source of the IRA’s political economic indeterminacy is that the IRA’s tax credit heavy structure poses the political question of whether public capacity can be built to manage, maintain and participate in a green investment boom (in other words, whether we can have genuine public coordination).  

At first glance, the IRA seems to be largely an attempt at state-directed scaling of private investment in green sectors without much coordination, aside from the large-scale subsidisation of certain types of projects and private consumption. Because the razor-thin Congressional majority required the use of the budget reconciliation process, the IRA could not create new regulations nor create new robust institutions to strategically allocate the majority 1 This is risky for a few reasons.  

As discussed above, although there is a total physical level of investment necessary to achieve decarbonisation, for key sectors, systemic coherence — not just volume — is essential. Arguably, then, for these same sectors, public investment, through public asset ownership and enterprise is essential. Take the electrical grid: as the Center for Public Enterprise describes:

[.quote][.quote-text]to get to a decarbonised grid it’s not enough to think about individual generation or storage technologies that hold promise. Nor is it enough to think about specific transmission lines that we would like to see built. Rather, we need to envision the future state we desire and develop plans for a whole grid solution that can operate effectively during and after the transition to a zero-emissions grid.[.quote-text][.quote]

In other words, a boom in private renewable projects will not on its own orchestrate a planned buildout. Even with subsidisation, private actors are still only likely to invest in sufficiently profitable projects, not coherent, system-wide renewable buildout. Indeed, dependence on private investment for renewable system buildout leaves the transition vulnerable to what the historian Jonathan Levy calls the “political liquidity preference”: every necessary project will remain subject to the threat of capital flight or refusal to invest if political demands by capital are not met. And, even with subsidy, private investment is still subject to general business cycles and bottlenecks in related systemic nodes.  

Transmission bottlenecks are telling. Electrification and investment in renewable generation depend upon essentially rebuilding the existing transmission grid once over in the coming decade; building the grid as it currently stands took a century. Yet, as the New York Times notes, the US transmission system is governed by decentralised and conflicting public and private bodies with lines “broken up into regional grids that operate like jealous petty potentates.” Blockages to transmission rollout are material caps on what would otherwise be uncapped subsidisation of renewable generation projects. Were the federal government to create a public enterprise to build out a high voltage transmission system, as the Berggruen Institute proposes, it could support grid planning as an investor and coordinating actor and literally unlock investment funded by the IRA.  

In a more general sense, our macrofinancial regime is hostile to a high capital expenditure environment. Macrofinancial management structures such as central bank inflation targeting are incapable of managing the inflation and other issues that a green investment boom and mass capital reallocation may spark. And indeed, central bank policies may directly impede a rapid and high volume of capital creation and reallocation. Stoking and sustaining even a private investment boom would require changes to macrofinancial architecture to facilitate public coordination, such as through central bank credit guidance or buildout of the administrative and fiscal state to manage significant prices or sectors — through price, consumption, and investment policies — without resort to attempting to curb economic activity at the macro-level by raising interest rates. While public investment is subject to politics, counterpoised to private investment it can be undertaken in the US context at least regardless of macrofinancial conditions or structures.  

At many critical points the actual undertaking of private investment funded by the IRA is still clearly subject to further public investment and coordination. Two essential elements of the IRA have the potential to mitigate these risks and more robustly build democratic coordination. First, precisely because the IRA did not create public institutions to implement (coordinate) the IRA, contestation over their creation and institutional design will now take place in the context of increasing consensus on their practical necessity. Clear institutional and administrative deficits at the federal level pose real bottlenecks to implementation (investment itself). Their creation cannot be taken for granted, but there is clear movement, and with it potential to drive more transformational change. The mega-trends to which Sahay and Fertik ascribe the US’s green planning turn are still there, and successful implementation of the IRA is a common imperative for the Biden Administration, the broader Democratic Party, and the US climate movement.

Second, the IRA also creates a strong but still contingent pull for the scaling of public capacity, specifically for the buildout of public power projects. Until the IRA, public and other non-profit entities were structurally excluded from the US tax credit premised federal renewables subsidy regime: only entities with tax burdens can claim them. As a result, public utilities, state and municipal governments and other non-profits currently generate only a limited portion of renewable energy in the US. Through the introduction of “direct pay,” public and other non-profit entities can now claim uncapped tax credits as de-facto fiscal grants. Because of the stackability of tax credits with other public subsidies, the Center for Public Enterprise finds “the Federal government could cover between 30 and 50 per cent through direct payments for ITC qualifying projects taken on by tax-exempt entities.”  

Purely on investment volume means, direct pay is indispensable. Direct pay offers a pathway for countercyclical renewables investment, whereas private investment is again subject to business cycles. Moreover, if meaningfully taken up, direct pay will likely drive down the cost of US renewable power generation. By subsidising publicly owned generation — which already enjoys a structurally lower cost of capital than private entities, faces less pressure to generate high equity returns, and which can amortize debt over much longer time horizons — direct pay will lower the price of public generation and introduce price-eroding competition between both renewable energy generation ownership models. And, through direct pay, public entities can strategically undertake critical investments and more broadly coordinate investments along the grid and its related production networks.  

Direct pay has already proven politically decisive for campaigns for public power in the US. Earlier this month, New York state passed the Build Public Renewables Act, which legally empowers the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to build and own renewable energy infrastructure and carries an implicit mandate for the NYPA to literally plug the renewable investment gap vis-à-vis annual sub-targets of the state’s legally enshrined 70% renewables by 2030 mandate. This legislation is the result of several years of powerful organizing by the Public Power NY, a coalition including environmental justice organizations, unions, community groups and the NYC-Democratic Socialists of America. As the New Republic reports, the NYPA’s ability to claim direct pay subsidies instrumental to the bill’s passage, as it was an uncapped federal funding stream for its decarbonisation goals that would be left on the table otherwise.  

The IRA does not direct existing public entities to undertake renewables investment, nor does it create new entities for this purpose. Therefore, the scale and impact of public renewable power in the US as a result of the IRA is dependent upon demand from public entities. Such demand is in turn dependent upon public capacity — either pre-existing or its buildup — to undertake investment and political contestation. As Brett Christophers notes, there is a risk of concentrated renewable infrastructure ownership by private asset management firms. This is not merely a concern based in aversion to private sector ownership. Instead, as Christophers writes: “asset-manager-led infrastructure investment is overwhelmingly a negative one. Asset managers are focused on optimising returns on the assets they control by maximising the income they generate while minimising operating and capital costs. Many users of infrastructure that has come under asset manager ownership have suffered, as service rates have risen quickly and service quality has deteriorated.” Thankfully, there is nothing in the long run preventing the public from building and owning the preponderance of IRA-funded renewable generation in the US except political power and will. Admittedly, however, the power and will to do so are far from guaranteed.  

As researcher Mathew Haugen describes, “how the implementation of the IRA unfolds is undetermined and malleable.” It is therefore, in Kate Aronoff’s words, “an invitation to organisers” to instantiate democratic coordination through political contest on this new conjunctural terrain over further public investment, decision-making, and ownership. As other countries take their own turn to state-led green transitions, the IRA also serves as an invitation for reciprocal learning and policy co-development.

The Labour Green Prosperity Plan and Green Coordination

Although the UK has spurred investment in renewable energy through public subsidies, it has heretofore overall ceded the transition to the private sector in the hopes of market-led coordination. As Common Wealth has shown, every aspect of the UK’s energy system is privatised, which has led to structurally higher prices and a deficit of public planning power over its management and development. Subsidies for renewables are untargeted: private investment is backstopped; but not planned against the targeted needs of a grid in transition. Investment in renewables at the pace and scale required to hit the UK’s clean energy targets is not forthcoming, with the upcoming CfD auction for new wind capacity likely to be “underpowered.”

To address this, and the wider decarbonisation challenge, Labour has proposed a Green Prosperity Plan underpinned by a decade-long £280 billion green investment programme matched to an active industrial strategy to decarbonise the economy and scale green sectors where the UK has potential. The content of this — its ambition and direction — remains substantively undefined, at least publicly. What is clear is that in designing the Plan, the UK’s political system means that Labour can do much more in terms of institution building and design than the IRA.  

As Labour turns to designing the Green Prosperity Plan it should take clear lessons from the IRA and the new conjuncture for climate politics it has created:  

[.num-list][.num-list-num]1[.num-list-num][.num-list-text]Transition from Market Coordination to Democratic Coordination[.num-list-text][.num-list]

Democratic coordination has not yet come near to displacing market coordination of the transition in the US. But the Biden Administration is right in its denunciation of the primacy of market-led investment. Labour should take a decisive turn away from it in action and in the same way articulate the imperative to do so to the electorate. Moreover, a Labour government should take heed of the coordination problems already emerging in the immediate wake of the IRA’s passage. The public investment proposed by the Green Prosperity Plan is necessary for the UK’s decarbonisation, but it is not sufficient. A Labour government should prioritise creating robust institutions of public investment and democratic coordination in order to realise the full decarbonisation potential of this green spending commitment. Labour has already committed to creating two such institutions:

Great British Energy and a green sovereign wealth fund. Great British Energy (GBE) would be a new publicly owned energy company mandated to become the UK’s largest renewable power generator, investing in and owning at scale a broad range of green assets, both frontier and proven technologies. It would also aim to anchor the transition to a 100% low-carbon grid by 2030. If ambitiously designed and implemented, GBE would accelerate the decarbonisation of the UK electricity sector and more assuredly deliver it through its investment coordination power. It would,moreover, work to coordinate the broader decarbonisation of the UK economy — much of which is dependent upon the planned and rapid rollout of renewable power — and support UK green industrial strategy: as Common Wealth has shown, a public electricity enterprise would offer the cheapest possible and abundant clean electricity to industry and stabilise and expand investment in related production networks. Not only would public energy generation lower consumer costs, it would ensure that the wealth created by common resources is shared in common. The common wealth of the wind, tide and sun, which could not be harnessed without public investment, should be democratically stewarded for the benefit of all, not subject to enclosure and privatisation.

The proposed National Wealth Fund would be capitalised with an initial £8 billion, taking public stakes in energy and climate investments including eight new battery factories, six clean steel plants and nine renewable-ready ports. This commitment is a recognition that a critical swathe of decarbonisation investments cannot be undertaken by private capital at all, let alone at the pace and in the targeted sequencing necessary, without not only public funds but, in the equity instrument, the risk-bearing capacity of the state itself. If ambitiously designed and implemented, the National Wealth Fund could democratically coordinate necessary decarbonisation investments from the transformation of steel production to the rapid expansion of electricity grid infrastructure. As an institution, it would be both an actor of democratic coordination and a site of democratic negotiation over which industries to prioritise and what plans or pathways to pursue. Maintaining equity in critical firms would also work towards democratising corporate governance, re-politicising enterprise itself. The fund could grow public wealth by bringing to life new green enterprise and democratising it through regional development planning. Returns on its investment would pass not to private shareholders but to the public through reinvestment and broader democratisation of green prosperity through the collectivisation of the social surplus.  

As the transition progresses, coordination problems at sectoral and macroeconomic level will emerge that necessitate a broader ecosystem of public investment and coordination institutions: a vehicle to coordinate housing decarbonisation; a national planning board; a just transition institution to coordinate the simultaneous decarbonisation of transportation, shift to multi-modal mobility, and the just redeployment of labour, etc. From the start, the Green Prosperity Plan must charter institutions able to coordinate investment in the key sectors of decarbonisation: power and heating, industry, transport, and land and agriculture. And it must charter a new macrofinancial settlement premised on democratic fiscal-monetary coordination, public investment and state capacity as opposed to the monetary dominance that has defined recent decades.

[.num-list][.num-list-num]2[.num-list-num][.num-list-text]Green Prosperity as Strategy and Design[.num-list-text][.num-list]

The forces key to delivering the Inflation Reduction Act, from the Biden Administration to the Sunrise Movement, championed the bill (in all its iterations) as a tool to deliver climate, jobs and justice. Delivering and democratising green prosperity should be the aim of a Labour government. Decarbonising the economy is dependent upon democratisation of economic life and decommodification of provision. Building and sharing green prosperity requires transforming individual lives and our ways of living in common with each other: organising work on transformed bases; providing the means of life outside the confines of the market; making the purpose and practice of production subject to meaningful democratic negotiation. If that is the goal, the challenge is articulating that agenda as a clear, compelling vision — equivalent to the jobs, justice, climate trio — with a policy programme that brings it to life, mobilises active support and coheres broad coalitions behind bold reform.  

To deliver on this vision, it is imperative that the strategic force of the £280 billion investment programme focusses on key sectors or infrastructures fundamental to decarbonisation that will require significant intervention to change; and areas which are universally experienced and everyday. At the same time, concentrating resources and state capacity to undertake and coordinate investment is far better than spreading committed funds too thin — dilution risks under-investment and under-delivery.  Given this, we recommend the Green Prosperity Plan focus investment on five core areas: building a new generation of beautiful, affordable net-zero public housing; retrofitting existing homes to cut bills; driving a clean energy sprint anchored by GB Energy, which should be put on a trajectory to be the UK’s equivalent of EDF; upgrading public and green transport infrastructure across the UK; and a targeted green industrial strategy aimed at developing niches in the global economy in which the UK possesses significant strengths: Shelter, Power, Mobility, Jobs. This is how can deliver climate and economic justice together.  

[.num-list][.num-list-num]3[.num-list-num][.num-list-text]Global Green Prosperity and Planetary Democratic Coordination[.num-list-text][.num-list]

Decarbonisation and the realisation of democracy depend upon global redistribution of economic wealth and power. Our economic system is inherently planetary and inherently hierarchical, product and productive of domination by market order and unequal power between states. Certain states, the UK included, claim a relative monopoly power over economic capacity; such states must redistribute this capacity to states lower on the hierarchy to transition. Moreover, coordination of the transition is inherently a planetary undertaking: the productive apparatus that we must use for and make subject to green transformation is not bounded by the nation-state. There is a risk that the erosion of market primacy gives way not to democratic green coordination and shared green prosperity at the global level; but to extractivism and geoeconomic rivalry. And there is a risk that attempts at decarbonisation of existing consumption patterns and ways of living in the Global North exceed material, biospheric and social limits. In setting out a Green Prosperity Plan, a Labour government should not repeat the US failure to embed global solidarity and build global green coordination mechanisms into the fabric of the IRA. A global green prosperity plan would build cooperative and non-extractive supply chain coordination, coordinate and democratise material demand for global decarbonisation against global justice and ecological ends, redistribute economic capacity through fiscal and technology transfers and transform the global financial system to democratise power over investment.

Next Steps

In the months ahead, Common Wealth will explore the twin transitions critical for addressing the crises of our age: from market coordination to democratic coordination; and from a fossil system to a renewables system. Our work will reflect the reciprocal nature of policymaking and institution building in a transatlantic context and the necessity of planetary democratic coordination.