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Can California fight climate change and provide good jobs?

by Jeong Park, The Sacramento Bee


Highlights

  • Oil and gas jobs provide people with middle-class incomes and are one of the few sectors to provide good-paying jobs without needing a bachelors degree or from those who have a criminal record
  • Since the fossil fuels industry is one of the biggest employers in the Central Valley, many are afraid that clean energy mandates will leave their communities jobless
  • Clean energy jobs do not pay as well as fossil fuel jobs and the state must ensure that these jobs have good pay and benefits 
  • Carol Zabin, director of the Green Energy Program at UC Berkeley Labor Center, says the state should provide apprenticeship and training programs that guarantee jobs after the courses are completed
  • Zabin also recommends project labor agreements where clean energy projects rely on local labor
  • Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez highlights the importance of making sure there is an emphasis on job creation as the state moves away from fossil fuels:

“Jobs can’t be an afterthought to any climate change legislation.”


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.


Read More: https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article246092400.html

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

by Sammy Roth, The Los Angeles Times


Highlights

  • 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.


Read More: https://www.latimes.com/environment/newsletter/2020-09-03/how-to-make-sure-clean-energy-jobs-are-good-jobs-boiling-point

A jobs program to plug abandoned oil wells sounds like a win-win. Is it?

by Emily Pontecorvo, Grist


Highlights

  • Abandoned oil wells across the country are leaking methane, a greenhouse gas that has 86 times the heat-trapping power of carbon dioxide
  • The impending collapse of the oil industry around the world will only make matters worse, as more oil wells will be abandoned and the gas leaks will continue
  • A new report from Resources for the Future and Columbia University suggests creating a federally funded jobs program that would plug the holes left by oil wells by employing oil and gas workers
  • Similar propositions have been made: one in an infrastructure bill passed by the US House of Representatives and a nearly $2 billion program in Canada
  • There are 56,600 known unplugged “orphaned” wells within the country, however, there may be hundreds of thousands of unknown wells that were created before regulations were in place
  • The cost of plugging the wells range from $4,000 to over $100,000 per well with a total program cost of  $1.4 billion to $2.7 billion and could support about 13,500 jobs for one year
  • However, these costs are only estimates and the true cost of plugging could be more
  • As demand for labor and equipment increases, costs could increase or they could decrease as crews learn to plug wells more efficiently. Carbon Tracker found that the cost of plugging a newer shale well, which is typically thousands of feet deeper than older wells, could be anywhere from $300,000 to more than $1 million.
  • Once taxpayers start spending billions to plug wells, the oil industry will have successfully avoided many of their own costs and successfully left them on the backs of taxpayers
  • Any federal effort to plug abandoned wells should likely focus on older, truly orphaned wells to avoid a perverse incentive for the industry to create more wells, and they should require states to ensure future plugging costs are fully covered by the industry.

Increased air pollution from fossil fuel emissions makes all of us more vulnerable to the current COVID-19 pandemic. For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.


Read More: https://grist.org/energy/a-jobs-program-to-plug-abandoned-oil-wells-sounds-like-a-win-win-is-it/