Although the global extent, length and depth may be in dispute, everyone agrees the world is suffering a serious financial and economic crisis.
The financial sector in a number of countries, including the US, is close to being technically bankrupt. Beyond the financial sector a number of industries in the UK and elsewhere are teetering on the edge. These include sectors responsible for infrastructure such as transport and telecommunications.
The debts being ratcheted up by some countries will take generations to pay off and in the coming decade will lead to both tax rises and heavy cuts in public expenditure. It's a dramatically changed landscape that will impact hugely on Greenpeace's work along with many other organisations and companies.
Every time we talk about 'the global economic downturn', or the need to kick start the economy, what we are doing is urging more expenditure, more motion. Economic growth is a means to an end, not an end in itself. But society has forgotten this. To measure the health of our society, our world, we need to know what this economic growth has helped us accomplish, and at what cost, not just how much motion it has generated and money it has spent.
There's another component to the economy: What it does not value.
Our economic model, championed these past few decades, has put the value of our joint home, planet earth, at precisely zero. There is no economic value put on our forests, our water, our soil, our oceans or our biosphere - all of which are vital to sustaining life on this planet, and all of which are limited.
And as a consequence, we have been looting our home with impunity. Just as a credit crunch was inevitable, so is a climate crunch if business as usual continues. And a fisheries collapse, and the destruction of rainforests - and a whole host of other environmental breakdowns.
Our leaders are still consumed by the rather naïve belief that we can have infinite economic growth on a finite planet.
On the plus side to this crisis, such respectable public figures such as the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former World Bank economist Sir Nicholas Stern, and former UK Chief Scientist Sir David King recognise the link between the economy and climate change. Our economics have created the environmental problem. How we tackle that problem must be the solution to our economics.
In that context the concept of a 'Green New Deal' is gaining credibility.
President Obama is embracing the rhetoric. And, to give credit where it is due, his financial vision for kick-starting America does include a green agenda and some green spending. He has also proposed to China that they both agree together to emissions limits.
Even Gordon Brown gets it in principle, although he is failing to provide a radical new leadership.
The challenge is to close the massive gap between rhetoric and reality, and provide a narrative for a greener future which must include wider issues such as consumption, population, economic growth, transfer of resources from North to South and tackling the big ticket expenditure items like military spending ($1.2 trillion per year) which need redirecting into renewable energy, energy efficiency and protection of natural resources.
Politics in general is good at the short-term solutions to boost consumerism, GDP, or the cycling of money through the system. These are tried and tested methods that make governments look busy whether they work or not. Yet when the rhetoric of a Green New Deal is put to the test, the UK government is backing a third runway at Heathrow, possibly new coal fired power stations, and cuts in VAT to boost short term consumer spending.
To be successful the Green New Deal needs to be translated into specific policies plotted against an economic and carbon roadmap. This must get us from the immediate (2 year) economic challenge, to the short-term (5 year/political cycle) recovery strategy based on green jobs, mid-term (decade) infrastructural foundations, and a longer-term decarbonisation strategy that sees national and international emissions peak within a decade and en route for zero carbon by 2050.
This vision affects all sectors of society and international relations. From agriculture and food production, through transport, energy and other services, manufacturing, land use and urban planning.
It's an active agenda to build security through efficient and just use of resources including energy.
The economic pattern of the next decade will be set in the coming months. A ten year delay in serious climate action will lock in a new generation of dirty power stations and long-lived infrastructure, which will squander 50% of the CO2 emission reduction opportunities. This would make a three to four degree rise in temperature almost certain.
The consensus among the authorities discussing a Green New Deal seems to be that at least 20% of current economic stimulus packages should be focused on low carbon investment if climate change targets are to be met. Currently we are far away from this target, with the UK among the worst at just 6%.
The elements of such a programme are clear and examples are already being demonstrated in a range of countries - from efficiency to low impact farming.
What we need is not just a shift to green investments and a push for efficiency but a change in the way we value natural resources. The ongoing clearing of rainforests in Brazil and Indonesia for cheap agricultural commodities needs to be stopped. Investment needs to flow into these countries to support sustainable farming that leaves the forest standing. Similarly corporate moves by BP and Shell into tar sands and other unconventional sources of oil need to be blocked.
This crisis is throwing many certainties into the air. Where they land is up to us.