Clean energy jobs are coming. Here’s how to make sure they’re good jobs

by Sammy Roth, The Los Angeles Times


  • UC Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education released a new report titled “Putting California on the High Road: a Jobs and Actions Plan for 2030″
  • Carol Zabin, lead author of the report, emphasizes that many people are currently in the energy workforce and need to be trained in clean energy technology
  • Green jobs should be well paying, have good benefits, offer opportunities to people of color, and allow career advancement 
  • Before the COVID-19 pandemic, California had 537,000 clean energy workers, and that number is expected to rise due to the states clean energy target deadlines coming in closer
  • The report lacks details on ensuring a just transition of labor to fossil fuel industry workers but suggests further study is needed
  • A just transition will become more important in areas such as the Central Valley, where many oil industry jobs may be phased out in the coming years
  • Union support will be essential for adopting climate action policies according to Zabin:

“When unions feel like they see their future in a clean economy, and they really have evidence at hand…they tend to be supportive, because most of them are not climate deniers…But like all of us, union members who fear their basic livelihood is going to get lost, they call up their elected leaders and say, ‘Hey, your job is to protect us.’”

Fossil fuel divestment and the transition to 100% clean energy is critical to achieving The Climate Center’s goals under the Climate-Safe California Platform. The Climate Center’s guiding principles in achieving our goals include striving to close the climate gap and ensuring a just transition for workers.

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More than 100,000 clean-energy workers lost their jobs in March

By Sammy Roth, The Los Angeles Times


Environmental Entrepreneurs, a clean energy advocacy group, finds that more than 106,000 clean energy workers filed for unemployment benefits in March. 

  •  BW Research projects that the clean energy sector will shed more than half a million jobs, which is 15% of its workforce, in the coming months if the industry doesn’t receive any support
  • The top three effected clean energy job sectors are energy efficiency, renewable electricity, and production of electric and hybrid cars
  • California, which has the largest amount of clean energy jobs, had 20,000 clean energy workers filing for unemployment in March
  • Supporting clean energy technologies within the next stimulus plan would provide a huge jump-start to the economy
  • E2 Executive Director Bob Keefe emphasizes how important the clean energy sector is in the US:

“What these numbers tell us is that clean energy workers are a huge and important part of America’s workforce — and they are hurting badly…Lawmakers simply cannot ignore the millions of electricians, technicians and factory workers who work in clean energy as they consider ongoing economic recovery efforts.”

  • Organizations like Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and The Breakthrough Institute are making suggestions on how to help the clean energy sector by preparing their own stimulus proposals 

The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California Campaign calls for bold policies to support clean energy investments, including utility reform for community energy resilience. The state’s response to the COVID-19 crisis can help reshape the economy for many decades to come. Legislators have an opportunity to funnel financial relief into climate-safe initiatives while phasing out fossil fuels.

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