More nation states are now committing to zero net carbon by 2050 at the latest, which is encouraging, but none have faced up to the transformation of economies, societies and lives that this will entail. This paper considers two scenarios, concentrating only on climate change, and discusses the implications for contemporary incomes, jobs and ‘welfare states’. The first is the Green New Deal framework to decarbonise the economy whilst addressing the distributional and welfare issues this would involve. I argue that expanded public provision of essentials would be a necessary social component of this strategy. The second scenario goes further to counteract runaway private consumption by building an economy of egalitarian sufficiency with ceilings to income, wealth and consumption. This would require a further extension of labour market and welfare state interventions. The paper provides a framework for mapping and developing these two distinct approaches and for identifying a range of policy options for jobs and incomes.

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Climate change-the key challenge-A framework for an eco-social contract_2021.pdf