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.
Research & Publications
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.
Our study addresses two separate but complementary questions for California in the years and decades ahead: 1) what benefits would the emergence of a major offshore wind power sector create for California workers and communities, and what policies might optimize these impacts; and 2) would offshore wind power be a competitive source of renewable energy in comparison to other clean energy sources?
September 3, 2020
Putting California on the High Road: A Jobs and Climate Action Plan for 2030
October 26, 2020
Progress on the Path Towards High-Road Jobs and Climate Action
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
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.
As president, Biden would have a number of means at his disposal to enforce better labor standards in the industry, said Carol Zabin, a labor economist who directs the Green Economy Program at the University of California, Berkeley. His administration could make sure individual workers aren’t expected to cover the costs of environmental initiatives.
Prioritizing good jobs that also solve some of our environmental and climate issues are part of a strong economic recovery. We’re at a crossroads. The recommendations in the Jobs and Climate Action Plan for 2030 will help California emerge from this recovery stronger and more resilient than ever.
Unless workers in the gas and oil industry see a future for themselves in a low-carbon economy, their first priority is to “save their own livelihoods,” said Carol Zabin, director of Green Energy Program at UC Berkeley Labor Center. For the state to truly achieve its goals fighting climate change, Zabin said, it needs to invest in helping its gas and oil workforce transition.