The Green New Deal has created an unprecedented buzz about climate solutions and policy in Washington, DC and beyond. Enemies are amassing to kill it before it’s crawled out of the cradle, slinging more hyperbolic baloney than seen in years. The haters have labeled the broad goals of the non-binding resolution a new communist manifesto, warning of economic armageddon, saying it will take us back to medieval times.
The Green New Deal non-binding resolution was forwarded on February 7th by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City (on Twitter @AOC) and long time climate champion, Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts.
Sen. Mitch McConnell could barely control his smirk as he promised to bring the resolution to a vote on the Senate floor in two weeks in an attempt to kill it.
Yesterday, Rep. Liz Cheney (yes, daughter of Dick) pushed for the same vote on the House side. They are trying to divide Democrats on this, but are meanwhile showing the deep climate denial on the Republican bench.
The chicken little red scare nonsense from extremists on the right (and coincidentally politicians from coal and oil states) is truly off the rails.
Meanwhile, let’s look at some facts
Robert Pollin at the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts, has studied what the ‘green economy’ looks like at ground level for over a decade – the number of jobs supported by green policies and the exact types of professions needed to make a green transition in the economy. He and his team are now doing state level analyses of Green New Deal-like policies already being implemented in states like Washington and New York.
It turns out that “green jobs” are not confined to “solar panel installation specialist” or “wind turbine blade assembler,” but also include electricians, carpenters, welders, roofers, HVAC technicians, insulation specialists and many more existing professions.
Here is a good example of what Green New Deal jobs would look like in your city or town. A team of people would do an energy audit of your house to measure energy efficiency and air leaks that make the house drafty. The team would recommend what works and is affordable, like retrofitting the home with a programmable thermostat and a more efficient heating and air conditioning system and appliances, installing better insulation or newer windows.
These simple adjustments make businesses and homes more comfortable and cheaper to operate, lowering utility bills for decades to come. The payback may take a couple years, but it means more money in all of our pockets that we are not paying for energy. How’s that sound Mitch?
And by the way, these are jobs that cannot be outsourced overseas. These jobs will be filled by your neighbors, your friends, your uncles and aunts.
Jobs That Are Boosted by the Green Economy
Here is the long list of jobs of increased importance in a green economy, from the PERI UMass 2008 Green Jobs study:
- Agricultural and Forestry Supervisors
- Agricultural Inspectors
- Agricultural Workers
- Building Inspectors
- Bus Drivers
- Carpenter Helpers
- Chemical Engineers
- Chemical Equipment Operators
- Chemical Technicians
- Civil Engineers
- Computer Software Engineers
- Computer-Controlled Machine Operators
- Construction Equipment Operators
- Construction Equipment Operators
- Construction Managers
- Electrical Engineers
- Electrical Equipment Assemblers
- Engine Assemblers
- Engineering Technicians
- Environmental Engineers
- Farm Product Purchasers
- First-Line Production Supervisors
- First-Line Transportation Supervisors
- Heating/Air Conditioning Installers
- Industrial Machinery Mechanics
- Industrial Production Managers
- Industrial Truck Drivers
- Installation Helpers
- Insulation Workers
- Iron and Steel Workers
- Laborers Machinists
- Metal Fabricators
- Mixing and Blending Machine Operators
- Operations Managers
- Production Helpers
- Rail Track Layers
- Sheet Metal Workers
- Transportation Equipment
And there are more jobs affected, because the supply chain for making housing and building infrastructure more efficient goes right through Home Depot (whose co-founder is a big Republican donor) to the insulation aisle where there are products made by the Koch-owned Georgia Pacific Corp.
The 2008 PERI report showed that the professions listed above accounted for 14.3 million jobs a decade ago, before the Great Recession. According to the most recent data for 2017 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, source for the PERI report, the numbers are virtually the same. Here are some highlights of national employment in various fields from the newer data. There will be many times this many as the Green New Deal gets moving:
- Heating/Air Conditioning Installers: 307,060
- Carpenters: 693,050
- Electricians: 631,080
- Insulation workers: 55,930
- Building Inspectors: 98,810
- Roofers: 121,179
Suffice to say, the Green New Deal fight is a long way from over, but when you talk about Green Jobs, remember to include the women and men who are carpenters, electricians and air conditioning installers .