Colorado can eliminate 90 percent of its carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 without creating an employment crisis.
That’s the conclusion of a detailed report released last month by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
“This study demonstrates how public and private investments in clean energy jobs and energy efficiency standards can build a sustainable economy of broadly shared prosperity,” said Robert Pollin, who worked on the report.”
“Investments to raise energy efficiency levels and expand the supply of clean renewable energy sources” need to be “undertaken in combination by the public and private sectors throughout the state,” the report states.
In large part, the report’s ecological goal would be driven by a massive reduction in the extraction, sale, and consumption of fossil fuels statewide.
The report features a comprehensive plan for Colorado’s 34,000 workers currently employed in the impacted fields.
It states that as few as two percent of those workers could lose their jobs.
The transition plan – which includes wage insurance, retraining and funds for relocation – aims to improve wages, benefits and occupational conditions for Colorado’s working people in conjunction with the larger environmental goal.
“Working people and our communities must be included in our state’s plans for climate stabilization,” said Dennis Dougherty, executive director of Colorado’s chapter of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations which helped commission the report.
“It is not good enough to simply call for an end to carbon emissions,” Pollin said. “We have a responsibility to think thoughtfully and plan strategically to actually make that change in a way that benefits working people as well as the environment.”
The report’s abstract and a link to a PDF of the full study is available at https://bit.ly/2w8PzR5.