National Climate Assessment: An Opportunity for Labor

National Climate Assessment: An Opportunity for Labor

If you saw some scary headlines about global warming recently, there is a good chance they came from a preliminary draft of the US government’s third National Climate Assessment.  The NCA is as close as there is to a definitive summary of what scientists tell us about the effects of climate change on the US and its diverse regions.

While the alarming scientific findings of the NCA have grabbed media attention, its unique stakeholder process has often been ignored.  The NCA is not just a product of the scientific ivory tower; it is based on a conversation between scientists and community members across the country. That conversation has included farmers, indigenous people, rural residents, urban planners, resource managers, and many community-based experts and ordinary citizens. (more…)

Communities Unite Around A ‘Just Transition’ Away from Dirty Energy

Communities Unite Around A ‘Just Transition’ Away from Dirty Energy

[Editor's Note: Indigenous peoples, communities of color, and working-class white communities are among the hardest hit by the floods, heat waves, storms, droughts, and other results of climate change.  At the same time they experience disproportionate rates of unemployment and poverty.  Now leaders from those communities are launching the "Our Power Campaign: Communities United for a Just Transition."  They are making concrete proposals to create jobs for hard-hit communities by transitioning from dirty energy to clean community power, zero waste, food sovereignty, public transit, housing for all, and restoration of ecosystems and watersheds.  (more…)

What does 400 PPM Mean for American Labor?

What does 400 PPM Mean for American Labor?

[By Joe Uehlein and Jeremy Brecher]

In 1940, as Nazi armies marched across Europe, United Automobile Workers Union (UAW) president Walter Reuther made a stunning proposal: Retool the Depression-ravaged auto industry to build 500 planes a year for national defense.  Many scoffed.  But a huge wartime mobilization put tens of millions of unemployed and underemployed workers to work producing what the war effort required, while shutting down wasteful and unnecessary production that would detract from it.

This May, the level of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere  reached 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in human history. (more…)

Why Labor Should Back Gina McCarthy for EPA Administrator

Why Labor Should Back Gina McCarthy for EPA Administrator

[By Jeremy Brecher, Labor Network for Sustainability]

American workers need jobs.  They also need protection from chemicals and pollutants that threaten their lives, health, environment, climate, and future.  Gina McCarthy, President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, has a unique track record in protecting the environment in ways that also protect and expand jobs.

For the past four years as head of the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, Gina McCarthy has exemplified protection of the environment based on US laws and scientific facts combined with common sense strategies to ensure that such regulation promotes rather than hurts jobs.  (more…)