My Turn: Financing new green jobs for climate crisis solutions

  • State Rep. Paul Mark speaks on climate change legislation Sept. 11 at Energy Park in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

Published: 10/5/2021 8:31:19 AM

State Rep. Paul Mark, who is vice chair of the most critical legislative Committee, the Technology, Utilities, and Energy Committee(TUE), provided us Sept. 11 at the Energy Park with a briefing on the new Next Generation Law. It includes a “heads up” on financing providing great emerging opportunities from this critical effort: addressing the climate crisis.

Within only eight years, we plan to cut greenhouse gas in half! (Just think ending the use of fossil fuel like gasoline, oil, diesel, natural gas in eight years!) We are only beginning to rapidly train thousands of workers for the green jobs of the future, as we make a rapid transition. Workers with good, long-term jobs, not dependent on charity, build economic health and stability, and can afford to purchase a home, bills for essentials, or an electric vehicle.

Some forms of financing a green transition hit the lowest income hard as well as customers with little income and no jobs. These regressive financing strategies raise infrastructure funding by increasing electric rates or the immediate cost of fuel using a carbon tax, thus adding to inflation and pain for low-income people at a critical moment.

A wiser strategy ? Drawing from those with excess resources, (the people with excess wealth to invest) and the very wealthy who manage to avoid paying taxes at all.

Once the state/nation has trained and fully employed a new workforce, it should be possible to replace funds we have invested using tax rates, especially if we trim some highly over-funded budget items, like subsidies for fossil fuel companies.

Heads up to the currently under-employed! This green transition could be a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for training for a good green job with a future. For example, the Legislature just voted $13 million in the current budget to train people for high-paid jobs in off-shore wind (800 Mega Watts are now being installed 14 miles off the coast of Massachusetts.) And the public utilities are expected to write a check for $12 million/year for workforce training every December until 2050.

Built into the new law is special consideration for those losing fossil fuel jobs, and the traditionally under-employed: minorities, women and lower income. We need people immediately who are trained in specialized green energy jobs: installing and servicing roof-top solar systems; selling, and repairing electric vehicles, installing, maintaining hundreds of quick-charge stations, rehabbing buildings, the list goes on….

A better system of financing the green transition is already underway: recruiting well-heeled investors. What investors seek is a monetary return, with less risk, on long-term investments. (Think! People with retirement savings, insurance companies, foundations, churches, universities with endowments, entire nations.) Over $16 Trillion, globally, is now pledged for divestment from fossil fuel corporations. People want to invest in something safer, with a predictable future.

Why? We are all in the same leaky boat!

Check out The Coalition for Green Capital https://coalitionforgreencapital.com/.

More that 14 states now have forms of “green banks.” They have a proven track record, creating great markets for new green jobs. For every dollar of public money, they recruit at least $3.5 in private investment for green projects. These states include our neighbors: Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York. A national Green Bank, called the “ACCELERATOR” passed the U.S. House three times this year, with bi-partisan support, but not yet the U.S. Senate.

Take heart, friends. We are poised for a fast-moving green transition. Get on board to implement the state law already in place! Good job training! Equity! Renewable energy powering electric transport and rehabbing over 1 million buildings with technology that already exists. A series of five-year plans based on verifiable greenhouse gas studies, is built right into the new law.

Pamela Kelly, pamelaskelly@comcast.net, is a member of the Social Justice Committee and All Souls Unitarian Universalist Congregation, and co-sponsor with the Franklin County Interfaith Council for Climate Solutions.

Jobs



Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Greenfield Recorder, keeping Franklin County informed since 1792.


Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906

 

Copyright © 2021 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy