Proposed Investments Would Create Millions of New Environmental Jobs
Clean energy is a promising field with a two-fold benefit: It can help the planet and it can also help our economy my leading to the generation of more much-needed jobs. Liberal magazine The American Prospect recently proposed a environmental plan to combat global warming while also creating jobs in the clean energy sector. Co-authored by Robert Pollin and Brian Callaci, the lengthy hypothetical is titled “A Just Transition for U.S. Fossil Fuel Industry Workers.” It appeared in the magazine’s Summer 2016 issue as well as here online.
In the piece, the authors suggest we stabilize the climate by dramatically reducing our global dependence on fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are responsible for roughly 75 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. The authors also suggest we expand our investment in renewable energy. This includes solar, wind, geothermal, low-emissions bioenergy, and small-scale hydropower.
According to the piece, the proposed investments would create millions of new environmental jobs. However, it won’t do so at the cost of losing the hundreds of thousands that currently work in fossil fuel. Rather than lose these workers to other industries, Pollin and Callaci suggest transitioning them from their positions with fossil fuel companies into the clean energy sector. Their high-end estimate for the program sits around $600 million per year. This funding would provide income and support for workers making the transition while also helping fossil fuel-dependent communities to switch over to clean energy as well.
This full-scale tilt would take massive buy-in. However, according to their figures, a $1 million clean energy investment would create 17 jobs for the economy. On the contrary, maintaining fossil fuels would produce only five.
The full proposed plan is a long read but has some interesting ideas for how to generate buy-in and how the plan will work. You can read the full piece here.