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Inslee's 'Evergreen Economy Plan' Calls for $9 Trillion Investment in New Green Jobs, Would Help Fossil Fuel Workers Transition
By Julia Conley
A new climate action plan put forth by Democratic presidential candidate Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday is being praised for highlighting the enormous benefits that would result from a rapid shift in the U.S. to a renewable energy economy that centers on the needs of workers and vulnerable communities.
Inslee unveiled his "Evergreen Economy Plan" at a press conference in Washington, DC, calling for a $9 trillion investment in green jobs over 10 years, which he said would create eight million well-paying jobs for Americans as the country mobilizes to create a carbon-neutral economy.
The green economy plan would create "high-paying, high-skilled jobs building a stronger, healthier, more just, inclusive and sustainable future," Inslee's 38-page proposal reads. It would also protect collective bargaining power for unions; ensure a "just transition" and jobs for fossil fuel workers; and mandate employers follow guidelines for gender pay parity.
"Inslee is right to recognize that moving off fossil fuels isn't just imperative for our climate, it's a massive economic opportunity," said Charlie Jiang, a campaigner with Greenpeace USA. "We have the chance right now to create millions of new, family-sustaining jobs in the renewable energy economy, a chance our next president cannot afford to pass up. Most importantly, Inslee's plan recognizes that the workers being exploited by the fossil fuel industry and those on the frontlines of climate disasters should be the first to benefit."
"We are never shackled to the past," Inslee said at the press conference. "We are never shackled to the technologies of centuries ago. We always invent the future because it is in our nature to invent, to create, to build."
The governor also announced the plan in a video posted to social media.
My Evergreen Economy Plan is a robust blueprint to defeat climate change while creating 8 million good union jobs, closing the gap in wealth and prosperity, and empowering workers of all races and genders. pic.twitter.com/aQVnhHq0yK— Jay Inslee (@JayInslee) May 16, 2019
"The proposal lays out a five-pronged strategy to launch an unprecedented deployment of renewable energy, fortify the nation's infrastructure to cope with climate change, spur a clean-tech manufacturing boom, increase federal research funding fivefold," Alexander Kaufman reported at HuffPost.
By spending $300 billion per year, the plan states, another $600 billion in economic activity will be generated.
The Evergreen Economy Plan builds on Inslee's first climate action proposal — the "100 Percent Clean Energy for America Plan" — which he unveiled earlier this month. The plan outlined how the governor would ensure all newly-built vehicles and buildings are carbon pollution-free by 2030 and that all utilities in the U.S. run with zero carbon emissions by 2035.
The earlier proposal was met with enthusiasm from climate action groups who called on Inslee to continue to "push the envelope." A number of campaigners applauded the Evergreen Economy Plan for doing just that.
350.org co-founder Bill McKibben praised the proposal as "really powerful and comprehensive."
"This charts a workable path forward," he tweeted.
Daniel Kammen, a contributor to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — which last year released a report warning that world governments must sharply reduce carbon emissions and shift toward renewable energy sources immediately, or the crisis will be irreversible by 2030 — also praised Thursday's plan.
"It is not only vital for our environment, but it is a recipe for more affordable housing and vibrant communities, good-paying jobs, corporate and municipal accountability, and global leadership for the United States," Kammen told The Guardian.
Earlier this week, progressives warned against climate action proposals like the one Joe Biden teased but has yet to unveil, described by a Biden adviser as a "middle ground" policy plan. Inslee suggested such proposals have no place in the 2020 election, amid rising sea levels and more frequent extreme weather events brought on by a warming globe.
"I have made a full-throated call for the mobilization of the U.S. economy to defeat this existential threat," Inslee told MSNBC after announcing his plan.
"When we have people in Iowa seeking high ground," he added, referring to the flooding aftermath he observed on a recent visit there, "we can't have a middle ground proposal."
Inslee alluded to the voters he met in Iowa when he introduced the proposal Thursday.
"It is time for the people of fire and flood to have a president who will stand up and protect them from the ravages of climate change and climate crisis," said Inslee.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
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By Jake Johnson
As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.
Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.
AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.
"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."
Big Oil is now using its political power to try and criminalize protests of oil & gas infrastructure.— Friends of the Earth (@foe_us) August 19, 2019
"This legislation has potential to punish public participation and mischaracterize advocacy protected by the First Amendment."https://t.co/bmiHjONEhy
The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.
"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.
As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."
"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."
Many of the state bills restricting the right to protest have been "drafted by companies and passed through groups like ALEC, the secretive group of corporate lobbyists trying to rewrite state laws to benefit corporations over people." @greenpeaceusa https://t.co/ZxpTjWdrwT— Stand Up To ALEC (@StandUpToALEC) May 6, 2019
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.