An interview from The Real News Network with Heidi Garrett-Peltier on why more and better jobs will come from transitioning NOW to clean energy
“when we look at the economy as a whole, the transition to clean energy creates many more jobs in renewable energy industries and energy efficiency industries and all of the supply chain that goes into those industries. So many more jobs are created than the number of jobs that are lost in fossil fuels but that doesnt mean that there arent potential hardships for the people in the communities that are dependent on fossil fuel employment. So, one of the things that were actually working on here at the research institute, at PERI, is that the concept of a just transition. So what does it mean for people and communities who are dependent on fossil fuels for their living, for their livelihoods. For some it means retraining and having enough funding from the federal government to provide retaining especially for people who are earlier in their careers. For people who are later in their careers and closer to retirement age, it might mean an earlier retirement. But there are implications for specific individuals and communities. But the other thing to keep in mind is that clean energy jobs can be created in many different communities. So there are specific renewable energies that need to be in places where there is more sunlight or more wind. But if we think about something like weatherizing homes or making commercial buildings more energy efficient, those kinds of instillation, construction jobs and the manufacturing jobs creating those energy efficient technologies and renewable energy technologies, those can be situated anywhere. So if we are thinking of this really holistically in terms of where the clean energy industry as a whole is going and we think specifically about the impacts on communities that stand to lose jobs, we can stand to lose some of these manufacturing plants in those communities and also the weatherization and energy efficiency sort of where it will happen economy wide in all communities since there are building everywhere that are inefficient. So that offsets some of the job loss. ”
Heidi Garrett-Peltier holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and works as an assistant research professor for Political Economy Research Institute (PERI). Her research focuses on the employment impacts of public and private investments, particularly in the realm of clean-energy programs. Heidi has written and contributed to a number of reports on the clean energy economy (see Recent publications, below). She has also written about the employment effects of defense spending with co-author Robert Pollin, consulted with the U.S. Department of Energy on federal energy programs and is an active member of the Center for Popular Economics.