Mobilizing for a Zero Carbon America: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, and More Jobs
By Saul Griffith, Sam Calisch, and Alex Laskey, July 2020
Based on an extensive industrial and engineering analysis, our new report demonstrates that an aggressive national commitment to electrify all aspects of our economy would create up to 25 million good-paying American jobs over the next 15 years and 5 million sustained jobs by mid-century. This is the first analysis of the job opportunities that would result from a rapid and total decarbonization of the economy as a whole. Unlike other approaches, which tend to see climate change policy as primarily environmental in nature, the study also imagines the electrification of America as fundamentally infrastructure designed to power America and its economy in the 21st century.
From mass unemployment to the threat of climate change, the U.S. will face a number of seemingly unprecedented challenges even after the current public health tragedy has passed. Finding needed solutions won’t be easy and will require creative thinking, robust analysis, and political resolve.
What types of jobs do we expect to create?
All types. We imagine that the largest sectors will be Electricity Supply, Commercial, Transportation, and Finance, but this plan also creates millions of jobs in Education, R&D, Residential, and elsewhere.
Where will these jobs be located?
Everywhere. Building a truly 21st grid will result in millions of Made-in-America, well-paying, outsource proof jobs distributed across every zip code in the country.
- Sen. Brian Schatz
"This important study shows that climate action can create millions of well-paying American jobs. Decarbonization is an unprecedented opportunity to mobilize American industry and grow our economy. We just need the political courage to seize it."
- Carol Browner
Former EPA Administrator
"Climate change is an existential threat to our health and communities…Rewiring America provides a blueprint for reducing climate change pollution and creating good-paying jobs. It is an important contribution to the work we urgently need to be doing."
- Niskanen Center
Joseph Majkut, Director of Climate Policy
"Rewiring America asks the bold question of what it would mean if we made building a clean economy, as fast as possible, our national project. The results should surprise, provoke, and inspire."
- Sunrise Movement
Varshini Prakash, Co-founder and Executive Director
"This report is a critical contribution that shows that urgently achieving an all-society clean energy future by 2035 is not only necessary and achievable, but will make the world that young people inherit more prosperous. We can achieve a just transition to a better world out of the wreckage of this economic crisis, with good union jobs for all, including low-income communities and communities of color — the only thing standing in the way is political will."
- Sunrise Movement
Evan Weber, Co-Founder and Political Director
"The Rewiring America team asked the question: ‘What would happen if we actually tried to transition all of the infrastructure in American society over the next 15 years to stay within the 1.5ºC safe upper limit of global warming?’ The answer they found is that would save consumers and society money, and it would create lots and lots and lots of jobs — around 25 million of them."
- New York Times
Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico
Guest Essay: Your Next Car and Clothes Dryer Could Help Save Our Planet
"Rewiring America’s road map will create, among other things, as many as 25 million new, good-paying jobs at the peak of this effort to switch to clean energy. Those jobs will be spread across the country."
How to Decarbonize America — and Create 25 Million Jobs
"Griffith worked with economists to come up with an estimate of how many new jobs this kind of mobilization could create: 25 million over the next five years, they found...Griffith’s plan is just about the boldest I’ve seen — and there are real questions about whether our political system is up for the task. But those are, crucially, political questions; part of answering them is showing that they can be answered, and in ways that make working Americans better off rather than worse."
David Brancaccio and Rose Conlon
Decarbonization Can Fix the Jobs Crisis and the Climate Crisis, Scientist Says
"[Saul Griffith is] co-author of a new report with the nonprofit Rewiring America that finds that completely decarbonizing the U.S. economy would create many more jobs than would be lost — as many as 25 million more jobs in the near-term, as we overhaul our infrastructure, and then 5 million more energy jobs than we have today in perpetuity."
How to Drive Fossil Fuels Out of the US Economy, Quickly
"Last week, Rewiring America made its big debut with a jobs report showing that rapid decarbonization through electrification would create 15 million to 20 million jobs in the next decade, with 5 million permanent jobs after that...But the jobs are, in many; ways, the least interesting part of the work. Much more interesting is Griffith’s larger project, the model he’s built and its implications."
Saul Griffith and Alex Laskey
To Recharge America's Job Market, Build a Green Electric Grid
"At Rewiring America, we estimate we can create some 25 million U.S. jobs if we move on from fossil fuels and electrify the economy by 2035, as we’ve detailed in a recent study. This estimate comes from an in-depth energy and engineering analysis from comprehensive datasets of energy, labor, and materials, conducted by the two of us and MIT engineer Sam Calisch."