Associate Professor Cassandra Star presented a lunchtime lecture as part of the Flinders University online miniseries ‘Braving COVID’. A/Prof Star’s presentation was titled ‘Climate activism and the COVID moment: securing the green new deal and climate justice’ .

The New Deal was a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the US. A Green New Deal would focus economic stimulus towards transformation to a green economy. Associate Professor Star talked about the importance of harnessing the ‘COVID moment’ and how we can take advantage of it to move towards a climate safe future. In particular, she argued that Covid stimulus packages being created and spent should be orientated towards transformation to a green economy breaking the current link between economic activity and resource extraction in the Australian economy. The form and substance of a green new deal for Australia was outlined.

A/Prof Star outlined how changing public opinion regarding climate action in Australia ensured that this was a fertile moment for a political and economic pivot toward a fossil fuel free future and the end of coal. Current stimulus plans include a $213b set of packages and a $90b funding facility. Despite community sentiment, the current approach has been towards a “fossil-fuel led recovery” rather than seizing the transformational moment. The importance of  incorporating climate justice considerations into the green new deal and taking a just transitions approach to economic transformation was part of this discussion.

A/Prof Star then went on to answer a number of live tweeted questions from the audience across topics including climate policy and the next ten years of climate action in South Australia. You can view the lecture in full here.