It’s time for an honest discussion about how California’s global warming law (AB 32) will impact jobs in California.
Working people in this state are suffering and they
need real answers about its job impact, not theories,
legacy politics and empty promises.
Consider a few grim statistics: The state’s unemployment rate is still above 12 percent.
More than 119,000 manufacturing jobs were lost last year. More than
600,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in this state since
Blue collar workers in the building trades have been
particularly hard hit, with unemployment rates at some
local unions as high at 30 percent to 40 percent.
This isn’t a numbers game.
These are real people struggling to pay the rent, put
food on the table, keep the house warm and pay the
They deserve some straight answers about how AB 32 will impact their lives.
We became concerned after reading a report by the UC
Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education which
found that green jobs represent less than one percent
of the jobs in California.
Green jobs would expand under AB 32; however, the report found that
this law could potentially
impact three million blue-collar, mainly union jobs, or 20% of
California’s workforce specifically in manufacturing, energy
and waste and water services.
These are a high concentration of well-paying, blue collar union jobs
in these sectors, and
these jobs are disproportionately filled by men, Latinos
and workers with a high school education according
to the report.
In these difficult times, California’s working people deserve nothing less.
To get some answers, the Green Jobs Coalition sponsored
ACR 77 authored by Assembly Members Sandre Swanson and Tony
Mendoza which asked the California Air Resources Board
(CARB) some tough questions about what jobs would be created
by AB 32, what jobs would be lost, and which industrial sectors
would be impacted by these lost jobs.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) effectively thumbed its nose at those of us supporting
They failed to provide the detailed sector-specific job impacts and other answers that were requested,
and which are necessary to fully understand the impacts
of AB 32.
Fortunately, there have been others that have shed
some light on the subject.
The Legislative Analyst found, for example, that AB
32 would result in the loss of 120,000 jobs in the short term.
CARB’s own economic experts also have recognized the fact
that jobs will be lost because of AB 32.
In fact, they recommend establishing a Worker Transition
Program to provide assistance to people who lose their
jobs because of AB 32 regulations.
In addition to lost jobs, California families would
also face increased energy costs.
According to these same CARB experts: AB 32 will cause California households to face higher prices
both directly for electricity, natural gas, and gasoline,
and indirectly as businesses pass costs for GHG reduction
on to consumers.
I don’t doubt that there will be more green jobs in California,
perhaps even thousands of them.
However, we don’t want to put at risk the millions of well-paying, blue-collar jobs that put bread on the table right now.
We need to make sure we do our homework, ask the tough
questions and make adjustments as necessary to implement
AB 32 in a way that reduces greenhouse gases without hurting
millions of families in this state.