WASHINGTON, D.C.—According to a new Center for American Progress Action Fund analysis released today in a press call with Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter and Minnesota State Sen. Ellen Anderson, more than 2 million jobs could be created in the thirty-five states across the United States that currently have renewable energy standard, RES, policies in place, including nearly 27,000 jobs in Minnesota. However, the upcoming elections endanger the progress states have made with their clean energy and climate policies that reduce carbon emissions and create jobs due to a number of conservative candidates that have challenged renewable energy standards or denied the reality of global warming.
The six states most at risk of losing the potential to create new jobs through their existing RES policies include Maryland, Ohio, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, and Oklahoma where there are tight races featuring candidates that oppose actions for clean energy reform. In Maryland, Ohio, and Illinois, the conservative gubernatorial candidates have made it clear they do not support RES policies; and in Kansas, Minnesota, and Oklahoma, the candidates have professed themselves to be highly skeptical of the existence of global warming—and the corresponding need to pass policies to move to a lower-carbon future.
“We are really worried as we’re two weeks out into the election, about what happens going forward,” continued Sen. Anderson. “It’s a real toss up depending on who is elected governor, and we have candidate for governor, Tom Emmer, who has already introduced legislation to repeal the RES in Minnesota. He has also said that if elected governor, he will back out of the regional climate pact.”
In each of these states, ending the state’s RES policies would prevent them from creating thousands of construction and manufacturing jobs and hundreds of permanent operations and maintenance jobs. In these six states with the most at-risk renewable energy standards, more than 445,000 construction-phase jobs (full-time equivalent, for one year) are at stake, as are over 6,000 permanent jobs. The results for the six states identified in the analysis are:
Moreover, evidence suggests that meeting new energy needs from clean energy will create more jobs because clean energy is more labor intensive. For example, wind and solar photovoltaic industries provide at least 40 percent more jobs per dollar than coal. Additionally, government officials in other states with strong RES policies have demonstrated that when strong standards are achieved, thousands of renewable energy jobs have been created.
To read the full analysis, click here.
To listen to press call, click here.
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