Combatting Climate Change, Reversing Inequality: A Climate Jobs Program for Texas
A new report by Cornell's Worker Institute Labor Leading on Climate Initiative
Texas is currently confronted by three major, intersecting crises: the COVID-19 public health pandemic and ensuing economic crisis; a growing crisis of inequality of income, wealth, race and power; and the worsening climate crisis, which continues to take its toll on Texans through hurricanes, major flood events, wildfires, debilitating heatwaves and the significant economic cost of these extreme weather events. These crises both expose and deepen existing inequalities, disproportionately impacting working families, women, Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, immigrants, and the most vulnerable in our society.
The Worker Institute’s Labor Leading on Climate Initiative, in collaboration with Northeastern University and Occidental College, and in partnership with the Climate Jobs National Resource Center, the Texas AFL-CIO, and the Texas Climate Jobs Project, began a comprehensive research, educational and policy process to develop a vision and framework for simultaneously addressing the crises of climate change and inequality in Texas through high-impact job creation strategies. Over the past year, Lara Skinner has conducted outreach to numerous leaders of the labor and environmental movements as well as policymakers and experts in the climate, energy and labor fields to better understand the challenges and opportunities that climate change and climate protection efforts present to Texas’ workers and unions.
This report examines the crises of inequality and climate change in Texas and makes a series of “climate jobs” recommendations that can help Texas simultaneously combat climate change, create high-quality jobs, and build more equitable and resilient communities. Considering Texas’s current labor and employment landscape as well as its climate and energy profile, these recommendations identify concrete, jobs-driven strategies that can put Texas on the path to building an equitable, clean energy economy that will tackle the climate crisis and improve working and living conditions for all Texans. Importantly, these recommendations can be tested at the city and county then scaled to the state levels based on their demonstrated effectiveness.
The Worker Institute would like to thank the Texas AFL-CIO, the Texas Climate Jobs Project, and the many unions and labor federations that showed great leadership and commitment by participating in this Labor Leading on Climate “Climate Jobs” initiative over the past year.
Climate Jobs recommendations from the report include: