The U.S. Clean Energy Future: Jobs, Health, and Union involvement

The Labor Network for Sustainability (LNS) launched  The Climate Jobs and Justice project  on May 18. It seeks to present “a credible, workable plan” for Just Transition at local, state, and national levels, and to provide organizers, activists and advocates with concrete objectives and examples for local action. The ultimate goal is to influence legislative proposals at the national level in the U.S.  The first, overview report released,  The Clean Energy Future: Protecting the Climate, Creating Jobs and Saving Money,    examines the  electric system, light vehicle transportation (cars and light trucks), space heating and water heating, and waste management.  Leveraging the current progress in energy efficiency and renewable energy, the plans outlined will result GHG emissions reductions of  80 percent by 2050 while adding half-a-million jobs –  most in manufacturing and construction –  and saving Americans billions of dollars on their electrical, heating, and transportation costs.  The interventions are presented as “a floor, not a ceiling “.

The report states that “the most surprising part of the Clean Energy Future may be its projected expansion of the auto industry. We assume that it will be possible to expand renewable electricity production and electric vehicle production fast enough to convert 100 percent of gasoline-powered cars and light trucks to renewable electricity by 2050.”  It projects increased employment in auto production, based on an assumption that 48 percent of the new demand for electric vehicles can be met by production within the United States.  Regarding the need for Just Transition policies for workers, the report also states: “The deterioration in the quality of jobs is directly related to the reduction in the size and bargaining power of labor unions; reinforcing the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively should be an explicit part of public policy for climate protection.” The Clean Energy Future was written for LNS and 350.org by Synapse Energy Economics.

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