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Washington State Climate Jobs Report Released

Washington state is not addressing the climate crises at a pace science demands, but its active labor movement and climate-friendly policy environment are strengths that can drive meaningful climate action, according to a report released today by the ILR Climate Jobs Institute.

Washington Climate Jobs Roadmap: A Worker-Centered Approach to a Clean Energy Future is the culmination of a two-year process that included interviews with more than 85 labor, environmental and industry leaders and policymakers, educational convenings, and qualitative and quantitative research.

“Our research highlights what Washington workers already know to be true: climate breakdown is real, and it's hitting workers and under-resourced communities first and worst,” said Lara Skinner, executive director of the Climate Jobs Institute. “There is hope, and it relies on labor. “

According to the report:

  • Income, wealth, race and gender inequality are rising and climate change threatens to exacerbate these problems.
  • Though new state policy has shifted focus to climate action, many of its existing policies reflect "business as usual."
  • Washington state must scale and mandate concrete goals around renewable energy.
  • The state has an opportunity to build a clean energy manufacturing sector.
  • There are opportunities to create thousands of high-quality climate jobs in new and existing industries.

The report provides 20 recommendations in six areas – energy, low-carbon manufacturing, carbon-free buildings, transportation, resilience and adaptation, and workforce development.

“Our report outlines a science-based program for Washington that would reduce carbon emissions, transition the state to an equitable renewable energy economy, and create family-supporting union jobs in communities that need them most,” Skinner said. “This report is a bold first step towards a pro-worker clean energy transition that meets the scale of this crisis and addresses long-standing racial and economic inequality."

In the coming year, the Climate Jobs Institute plans to release climate jobs reports for Colorado, Michigan, Maryland and Pennsylvania.