The Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) has provided the Sierra Club with a commissioned report proposing a $6 trillion, 10-year stimulus plan for creating 4.6 million jobs annually to upgrade American infrastructure, and another 4.5 million jobs annually to transition the country to a clean energy economy.
As first reported exclusively this week by The Hill, about 3.2 million of the clean energy transition jobs prescribed in the report would be in the clean energy industry – such as solar and wind energy – 700,000 would be in energy efficiency and 500,000 would be in land and agriculture restoration. These clean energy jobs would entail a $320 billion public investment annually. The report, which was co-authored by Robert Pollin, distinguished professor of economics and co-director of PERI, and Shouvik Chakraborty, assistant research professor at PERI, assumes this public investment would be matched with an equal private investment.
“We have to recognize that the climate crisis isn’t going away just because we have a pandemic,” Pollin told “The Hill,” referring to COVID-19. “The climate crisis won’t end unless we take decisive, structural action to move out of our fossil fuel-dominant energy system onto clean energy system.”
“Advanced over a 10-year time frame,” the report states, “this clean energy/land investment program, budgeted at $640 billion per year, should be sufficient to lower annual U.S. CO2 emissions by 45 percent by 2030 relative to the current level of about 5.2 billion tons. This 45 percent emissions reduction target is consistent with the global emissions reduction goal for 2030 stipulated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).”
The traditional infrastructure jobs included in the proposal would be for improving roads, schools, public parks and recreation and other areas. In its summary of the report, the Sierra Club recommends that these infrastructure projects should target communities that are low-income, non-white or facing disproportionate impacts of the coronavirus pandemic or climate change.
The full report, “Job Creation Estimates Through Proposed Economic Stimulus Measures: Modeling Proposals by Various U.S. Civil Society Groups; Macro-Level and Detailed Program-by-Program Job Creation Estimates,” is available online from the Sierra Club.