The impacts of climate change — on our jobs, health, and homes — are a major concern for voters in the primaries and caucuses thus far. Yet, in South Carolina — where residents have experienced record flooding, devastatingly powerful tropical storms, and extreme heat — not a single question about how the Democratic primary candidates would address these issues came up at the debate before Saturday’s election. Nevermind questions about just what, exactly, the candidates’ plans might mean for the future of workers.
The sad truth is that the punditry has all but ignored climate change and the related impacts on our economy during the primary, shirking grassroots calls for a climate debate to instead pose just a handful of insufficient, muddled climate questions.
Ironically, the primaries have proved that climate justice and good jobs will remain a key political issue for voters in state after state. In Nevada, a majority of Latinx caucus-goers cited the climate crisis as their most pressing concern. Climate was a top priority in the New Hampshire primary and Iowa caucuses, too.
As we hurtle toward Super Tuesday results today and the primary field winnows, we cannot let up on calls for a more meaningful, in-depth discussion about how to weave climate policy with the creation of good jobs and a stronger economy. How we choose to collectively confront the climate crisis has existential consequences for working families and communities — it’s a conversation we all need to have, together.
At Jobs to Move America, we believe that our public dollars have the power to combat climate change in a way that ensures workers and their families a better, healthier future. We need to build a political system that supports strong public investments to make the transition to a clean economy that runs on renewable energy with good union jobs at its core.
Our public investments in new green technologies — from public buses to solar panels — can create millions of good jobs for workers, especially those who have historically been denied good jobs in the manufacturing sector. But only if we make that commitment.