A local, worker-owned, green economy is the do-or-die alternative to globalized capitalism. The claim that the choice is between jobs and the environment is bipartisan, “larger-than-usual deception.”
The Solutions Project estimates that a Rhode Island water-wind-sun energy transition will create 13,000 forty-year jobs, 7,500 in construction and the rest in operation. Compare this to the 300 three-year jobs of the Invenergy-Raimondo power plant in Burrillville. Advantage Green: 600 to 1.
A just transition is for the taking. As UMass-Amherst economists found:
Our rough high-end estimate for such a program is a relatively modest $600 million per year. This level of funding would pay for:
- income, retraining and relocation support for workers facing retrenchments;
- guaranteeing the pensions for workers in the affected industries; and
- mounting effective transition programs for what are now fossil-fuel dependent communities.
There is one problem with a just transition: it clashes with ruling class entitlements. They are what Comcast tried to safeguard when it unsuccessfully sued the Chattanooga, Tennessee, Electric Power Board in 2008 in an attempt to block funding of city-run gigabit-speed fiber services for its citizens.
Entitlements for the rich also explain why Exxon Mobil in a recent letter to the White House defended the Paris Agreement—read the Clean Power Plan—against the Trump administration. No surprise that the number one gas driller in the U.S. writes a letter with “Natural Gas” as the number one term in bold.
Welcome to climate affirmation, the new denialism! It may be modest, but it signals progress.
 Robert Pollin & Brian Callaci, The Economics of Just Transition: A Framework for Supporting Fossil Fuel-Dependent Workers and Communities in the United States