Business, Labor, Environmental Leaders Say Climate Change Challenge Poses Opportunity for Jobs, Energy Independence at Local Town Hall Meeting
La Crosse, Wisc. – Increasing investment in the “green” economy could produce tens of thousands of new Wisconsin manufacturing jobs in the coming years, presenting enormous opportunity to combat climate change while improving a lagging economy and setting our nation on the road to energy independence.
That was the consensus of more than 60 people who attended a town hall Tuesday night hosted by the United Steelworkers, and sponsored by the BlueGreen Alliance along with former Vice President Al Gore’s We Campaign. The meeting was one of 13 held nationwide this month to highlight opportunities for high-paying domestic jobs in renewable energy, clean technology, and “green” manufacturing while discussing environmental and economic risks associated with accelerating climate change.
“We are looking towards a future – a very near future – in which good, high paying American jobs will be created with the onset of a green economy,” said Leo W. Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers. “Developing, manufacturing, installing and maintaining new technologies to fuel our homes and businesses will create a whole new industry that will translate into millions of new jobs.”
The BlueGreen Alliance, a partnership between the United Steelworkers and the Sierra Club, is working with the We Campaign and the Alliance for Climate Protection to raise awareness about the global climate crisis and to encourage their members to advocate solutions that promote economic prosperity.
There are more than 1,300 firms in Wisconsin currently active in the industrial sectors that could supply parts to meet the demand to deliver a 15-percent reduction in global warming emissions. In Wisconsin, approximately 35,000 new jobs in Wind, Solar, Geothermal, and Biomass energy could be created by adding 18,500 MW of renewable projects each of the next ten years. This means new jobs for skilled trades, including electricians, steamfitters, plumbers, and sheet-metal workers.
“With a struggling economy and record-high energy prices, we have to think strategically about how to move our country toward energy independence, improve the economy, at the same time find solutions to the global climate crisis,” said David Foster, executive director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “By investing in the growth of industries that create good green jobs, we can accomplish all of these goals at once.”
For more information, logon to www.wecansolveit.org/steelworkers.