The myth that climate action kills jobs is dying. Study after study shows that serious environmental policy spurs job creation. Most recently, a July report found that meeting the Paris Agreement’s goals could create 8 million positions globally by 2050.
But labor and climate organizers are aiming toease fossil fuel workers’ concerns, with an increasing push to make sure the climate jobs of the future are unionized and pay as well as their fossil fuel counterparts. They’re also putting the need to protect workers at the forefront, rather than treating labor as an afterthought. The growing climate-labor movement could be the key to making sure decarbonization actually happens in a speedy and fair manner, and it’s making inroads in some surprising places.
President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, July 12, 2021, in Washington. Evan Vucci/AP
Texas House Democrats fled the state on Monday to block Republicans from passing a sweeping voter suppression bill and traveled to Washington, DC, to lobby their congressional counterparts to pass federal legislation protecting voting rights. “We are living on borrowed time in Texas,” Texas Democratic leaders said in a statement. “We need Congress to act now…to protect Texans—and all Americans—from the Trump Republicans’ nationwide war on democracy.”
Now they want the White House to act with the same urgency.
In a speech on Thursday, Vice President Kamala Harris called voting rights “the fight of our lifetime.” President Biden plans to deliver a major speech in Philadelphia on Tuesday denouncing GOP efforts to make it harder to vote, which White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Monday called “the worst challenge to our democracy since the Civil War.”
Yet voting rights advocates say the White House’s rhetoric about the existential threat to democracy has not been matched by action to solve the problem. Biden, they complain, has been much more engaged in trying to pass an infrastructure plan than in trying to persuade Senate Democrats to pass the For the People Act, the sweeping voting rights measure that was blocked by a GOP filibuster last month.