By Jacob Bourne
This week, Governor Jerry Brown convened the Global Climate Summit to demonstrate California’s commitment to the Paris climate agreement. Held at Moscone Center South in San Francisco, the summit featured dozens of speakers including world leaders, celebrities, business leaders and heads of advocacy organizations. Thousands listened and participated in discussions while scores of demonstrators flooded the streets outside the center.
A frequent refrain among the speakers was the wealth of economic opportunities that are presented by abandoning fossil fuels for green energy sources and the need for all sectors of society and all nations to cooperate in this endeavor.
AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka addressed a packed auditorium about taking the high road to good jobs and a clean energy economy.
“In the San Joaquin Valley, right here in California’s oil country, there have been over 4,000 megawatts worth of new clean energy projects in the last two decades,” said Trumka. “Fifteen million jobs and hours of union work at union wages with union benefits have been made possible.”
Trumka lauded Governor Brown’s leadership, which he said has created an atmosphere for unions, employers and government to come together to fight climate change and create good jobs by attaching high labor standards to climate policy. This atmosphere has allowed for the creation of new paid sick leave and workers compensation laws combined with strong collective bargaining agreements to keep union members safe and healthy.
“The popularity of unions recently reached a 15-year high and we’re just getting started,” said Trumka. “We can bring that energy and momentum to the fight against climate change. I say, let’s join together. Let’s get the job done and let’s do it the right way.”