Authors: Joe Naroditsky
Joe Naroditsky is the director of Faiths United for Sustainable Energy (FUSE) and a Green For All Academy Fellow.
For decades, the world’s most highly regarded scientists and academics have been analyzing the impacts of human-induced climate change. At the same time, economists, politicians, and the fossil fuel industry have threatened that addressing this global crisis would be too expensive, and send the global economy and associated quality-of-life spinning retrograde into the dark ages.
Additionally, we’ve been told that low-income communities will bear the brunt of the increased energy costs that would accompany any solution to climate change.
However, a pair of new studies prepared by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (PERI) with the Center for American Progress (CAP), Green For All, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), show that Miami, among other major cities, would benefit greatly from broad investment in green technology by the public and private sectors.
The research indicates that an economy-wide investment of $150 billion in renewable energy and energy efficiency would create hundreds of thousands of new green jobs and begin to reverse the trend of increasing unemployment rates in the US. Moreover, the research suggests that low-income communities would do very well under such an investment – nearly half of the jobs created would be accessible to individuals with little formal education.
Miami would see a net increase of over 25,000 new jobs, over half of which would be accessible to those with a high school degree or less, such as jobs in construction, manufacturing, and transportation. Further, these jobs would pay over $13 per hour with opportunities for increased compensation over time.
These green jobs are good jobs. They are jobs that will help our homes use less energy, build a public transportation infrastructure, sell and install solar panels, grow organic produce, and much more. These are jobs that are good for our environment, our community, and future generations who are depending on us to build a viable economy and a sustainable world.
Miami-Dade has long been a local leader in addressing climate change and has recently extended that leadership by being one of the first municipalities to adopt the Local Governments Green Jobs Pledge, a commitment to make well-paying, environmentally-sustainable jobs a centerpiece of the county’s economic development strategy. There are many local organizations already working to create programs that will recruit, train, and employ individuals in emerging green sectors.
The only uncertainty remains funding – the $150 billion referred to in the studies above, which would come from federal and private sector investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. With legislation currently being debated in the halls of Congress that could make such investments possible, it’s time Miami-Dade residents let their Representatives know how critical green jobs are to our economy, our livelihoods, and our future.