Action to reduce global warming could create a lot of new jobs – from wind and solar farm construction to green building and electric-vehicle manufacturing.

Jason Walsh is executive director of the Bluegreen Alliance, a nonprofit that works on environmental and labor issues. 

“The challenge is going to be making sure that as we make this transition, those jobs are created in all parts of the country, including in parts of the country that are losing fossil-fuel jobs,” Walsh says.

He says governments can help. For example, a proposed federal tax credit would reward companies for locating facilities in areas that have lost coal jobs.

“We’re also going to need to address job quality,” Walsh says. “Clean energy jobs, on average, pay less then fossil energy jobs on average.”

He says that’s partly a result of strong unions in the fossil fuel industry. So his group advocates for increasing the role of unions in clean energy. And it calls for training programs to help local residents qualify for new jobs. 

Walsh says he’s hopeful that, with planning and coordination, the country can build a clean energy economy that supports workers with good-paying jobs.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media