A series of briefs summarizing the recommendations for some of the critical climate sectors addressed in the Jobs and Climate Action Plan for 2030: electricity generation, energy efficiency, electric vehicle manufacturing and charging infrastructure, public transit and infill development, trucking, and waste.
April 13, 2021
High-Road Jobs and Climate Action: Lessons from California for the Nation
September 3, 2020
Putting California on the High Road: A Jobs and Climate Action Plan for 2030
November 12, 2020
Prevailing wage in solar can deliver good jobs while keeping growth on track
October 3, 2020
My Turn: Recommendations to help California’s economic recovery and to take action on climate
September 3, 2020
Clean energy jobs are coming. Here’s how to make sure they’re good jobs
Research & Publications
Experience has shown that prevailing wage actually accelerates solar development. In California, the predominate use of union labor on utility-scale solar projects has fortified political support from organized labor for legislation and regulatory policy that continues to accelerate in-state solar development.
Jobs v. environment is a false choice. And with the pandemic-induced economic downturn and the fires hurting Californians around the state, it’s clearer than ever that we must make meaningful progress on both fronts simultaneously, crafting an economic recovery that advances equity, climate resilience, and job quality.
California’s ambitious path towards a carbon-neutral economy is complex, involves and affects different industries and occupations in multiple ways, and holds both promise and challenges for the state’s working families. The analysis and recommendations here present actions that show a high road to climate policy is both valuable and feasible.
With the pandemic-induced economic downturn and uncertainty hurting Californians across the state – and with the fires a reminder of the urgent need for climate action – the California Workforce Development Board (CWDB) today submitted a new report to the Legislature highlighting a path forward for an economic recovery that advances the Administration’s high road principles of economic equity, climate resilience, and job quality.
Excessive focus on job training, the declining power of unions and other trends over the last few decades mean that green energy jobs are, in many cases, not the quality, family-supporting jobs still available in the fossil fuel industry, according to Carol Zabin.
Climate Jobs Illinois points to a study by the UC Berkeley Labor Center finding that prevailing wage requirements increase solar project costs by about 5% to 9% in the residential sector, 2% to 5% in the commercial sector, and 1% for utility-scale projects. Those costs are small overall and are offset by the increased value provided by more skilled workers that fill prevailing wage jobs, the research found.
“It’s a stark choice,” says Zabin at UC Berkeley. “Either we have low-wage, dead-end jobs or we use the tools of government to make companies better employers and create real careers.”
That the solar and wind sectors employ such large shares in construction is not without benefits. It means that a potential wind and solar jobs boom would create plenty of work for people without college degrees.
“Instead of spreading the cost of new cleaner technologies to whole industries, you’re putting that on the backs of workers,” said Carol Zabin.