CRAG – the continuity agency idea – and Joel Makower’s case for a climate & Covid response

Writing on Joel Makower makes a strong case for including measures to prevent climate destabilisation in the current response to Corona. Specifically, the bailouts being requested by the airlines, the fossil fuel industry and industrial agriculture should be a chance to put the economy on the right footing.

… we need to be talking unapologetically about climate, the clean economy, renewable energy, resilient food systems, sustainable mobility, the circular economy and the Sustainable Development Goals with more vigor than ever.

Joel Makower

This is exactly the reason for the CRAG – continuity and rationing agency – proposal released a few days ago. In the case of the airlines, the government could step in to save the industry but in return take over some of the ownership and put flights into a rationing system – so that the number of flights available as the years progress match the reduction curve of the Paris Agreement.

Click for larger image

The above represents the decision process that could be applied when industries request bail-outs. Starting from the top, if the company produces basic needs then continuity assistance is offered. More on that later.

If the companies can transition to providing basic needs then that will be a condition of the continuity assistance. If not, the question is put as to the size of the company.

Letting large industries that many rely on for services or their livelihoods go bankrupt is destructive of the economy as a whole. Giving them money to continue is equally destructive.

This is how the continuity agency would work in the case of the airlines. The money needed to keep the organisation is swapped for part ownership or other ways of influence. The state steps in to take responsibility. It works with the other owners on a transition plan that will reduce the number of flight kilometers, will reduce C02 emissions, hasten alternatives and probably go into rationing – where people can still fly but not as much as they might like to. The rationing includes a market-levelling mechanism which prevents those with a lot of money bidding for seats to crowd out those on lower incomes.

We need for people to keep their jobs. In our proposal a government-run job agency (JAG) employs all without work and pays a BIG – a Basic Income Guarantee. In this case, airline workers are secure and can stay in the airline or leave depending on the circumstances.

Read more about the CRAG-JAG-BIG proposal here.


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