Biden plan on climate could be source of job creation for Black America

Exclusive: As President Joe Biden returns to the world stage on climate, his policy proposals could provide a pathway for Black Americans to gain back financial ground lost during the pandemic.

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Calling all tree huggers. On Earth Day, President Joe Biden led the charge on the first Global Climate Summit of his presidency. 

U.S. President Joe Biden listens during a virtual Leaders Summit on Climate with 40 world leaders in the East Room of the White House April 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Al Drago-Pool/Getty Images)

Former Secretary of State John Kerry is the designated point person for the U.S. participation. He’s working diplomatically to skillfully reenter the United States into the summit after years of being absent from the world stage during the Trump era.

To take on the most pressing issues facing the nation with an integrated effort, combating climate change and creating infrastructure jobs has become the administration’s plan. From cleaning out old oil tanks and coal mines to building transmission lines and power grids to making electric vehicles and the power stations that sustain them, labor is in demand to achieve the administration’s goals. 

Read More: At ‘moment of peril,’ Biden opens global summit on climate

President Biden said these jobs, some including unionized opportunities, support his pledge to reduce emissions in half by 2030. What is very important to this equation is the insurance claim that $23 trillion will be lost due to climate change by the year 2050.

“If we don’t keep up with it, we’ll get behind the rest of the world, said Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, who chairs the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. “We have to be ready for these innovations.”

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

For Black America, the call for jobs through this program is more than needed as the community is experiencing unemployment at a rate of 9.8%. The intertwining of jobs and prioritizing climate policies could provide a pathway for Black America to gain back any financial ground lost during the pandemic.

Depending on what part of the country you live in, Black and brown workers lead in construction jobs. At the backbone of Biden’s climate plans is the construction of innovative jobs.

Chairwoman Johnson thinks the country as a whole could benefit from the participation of underserved communities in the innovative process by allowing them to propose new clean energy and green renewable alternatives to create. 

“People can think if I can’t afford gas, because we can’t determine how much it’s gonna cost per gallon, I still got to get somewhere. So maybe I can figure out some way to touch some kind of wire to make this thing go without finding the gas station,” Johnson offered. “It’s that kind of imagination that brings forth these innovations.”

Mavery Davis, a member of West Virginia New Jobs Coalition, poses during a community gathering and job fair as West Virginians take action for an economic recovery and infrastructure package prioritizing climate, care, jobs, justice and call on Congress to pass the THRIVE Act on April 08, 2021 in Charleston, West Virginia. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images for Green New Deal Network)

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who rides his bike to work on occasion, said the proposed jobs created through the collaboration of climate change and infrastructure will “create billions and billions of dollars in economic opportunity, and we have to make sure that happens equitably.”

Reducing the carbon footprint can involve something as small as carpooling and better yet, bicycling to work, but the former mayor of south bend cautioned it’s a small investimat on the greater return the world needs, “you see a lot of protected bike lanes. But look, let’s face it, we Americans are still not really used to a lot of biking to work the way some other countries are. I hope we can make it easier and make it more accessible, because in many cases, it really is a great choice.”

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