These Northern Baltimore Candidates support Clean Energy Jobs and here’s why:
Allison Berkowitz, District 7, Running for Delegate
We evolve or we perish. Clean energy jobs are critical as we transition to 21st century energy. While energy sources of the past, like the coal industry, employ fewer people than some fast food chains, clean energy is among the fastest growing industries in the world. The writing is on the wall: to protect our environment, our future, and our children’s futures, we need to move our state, and country, towards renewable energy.
Solar, wind, and other renewable forms of energy give us the opportunity to invest now and reap the benefits for years to come. Beautifying our landscapes, lowering the cost of energy, and providing middle class jobs? The choice is clear. We need to move Maryland to 100% renewable energy as soon as possible, and create the associated jobs needed to get there.
Jon Cardin, District 11, Running for Delegate
I originally ran for office and became a state representative for Maryland (2003-2015) because of my passion for keeping our environment pristine. Future generations deserve to have a better experience than we do and it is our duty to see that to fruition. It was when I was writing my Master’s Thesis on pragmatic cooperation between gold course landowners and environmentalist that I came to the reality that I have to do something about it. After that, I built a carbon neutral home and decided to run for office. Fast forward 20 years, and here is what I have learned:
Green jobs are integral to any effort to jumpstart our economy. The rapid growth of green jobs will boost demand in our economy by reducing unemployment, make America more competitive in the global economy, and protect our public health—all of which will result in greater economic productivity and long-term economic prosperity.
There are already more than 5 million jobs across the clean economy. Clean energy is already proving to be larger job creation engine than the heavily subsidized fossil-fuels sector, putting Americans back to work. Across a range of clean energy projects, including renewable energy, transit, and energy efficiency, for every million dollars spent, 16.7 green jobs are created. That is over three times the 5.3 jobs per million dollars that are created from the same spending on fossil-fuel industries.
The clean energy sector is growing at a rate of 8.3 percent. Solar thermal energy expanded by 18.4 percent annually from 2003 to 2010, along with solar photovoltaic power by 10.7 percent, and biofuels by 8.9 percent over the same period. Meanwhile, the U.S. wind energy industry saw 35 percent average annual growth over the past five years, accounting for 35 percent of new U.S. power capacity in that period, according to the 2010 U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report. As a whole, the clean energy sector’s average growth rate of 8.3 percent annually during this period was nearly double the growth rate of the overall economy during that time.
Median wages are 13 percent higher in green energy careers than the economy average. Median salaries for green jobs are $46,343, or about $7,727 more than the median wages across the broader economy. As an added benefit, nearly half of these jobs employ workers with a less than a four-year college degree, which accounts for a full 70 percent of our workforce.
Green jobs are made in America, spurring innovation with more U.S. content than other industries. Most of the products used in energy efficiency retrofits are more than 90 percent made in America. Sheet metal for ductwork is over 99 percent domestically sourced, as are vinyl windows (98 percent) and rigid foam insulation (more than 95 percent). Even major mechanical equipment such as furnaces (94 percent) and air conditioning and heat pumps (82 percent) are predominantly American made.
We have a positive trade balance in solar power components such as photovoltaic components and solar heating and cooling components of $1.9 billion, and are exporting components to China. Contrast this with the oil industry, where in 2010 alone we imported over $250 billion in petroleum-related products. As our nation’s basic manufacturing base declines, we risk losing our place in the forefront of innovation if we don’t invest in advanced manufacturing in the green sector.
Clean energy jobs are better for U.S. small businesses. Specialty construction companies that perform energy retrofits show very high rates of small business participation in the construction. Ninety-one percent of the firms involved in retrofits are mall businesses with less than 20 employees. The bottom line: Green jobs being created through smart investments in our energy infrastructure are expanding employment opportunities while reducing pollution of our air and water, providing an alternative to foreign oil, and allowing us to export more American-made goods abroad.
Sheldon Laskin, District 11, Running for Senator
Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges we face, and we all have a responsibility to do our part to respond. That’s why I’m getting energy for my home in Pikesville from the solar panels on my roof, installed a rain barrel to harvest stormwater, grow vegetables and have planted trees in my yard, and why I helped organize a bus to the People’s Climate March last year from the parking lot of my temple.
I’m likewise committed to supporting strong climate policy at the state level, and I’m grateful that our District 11 Delegate Dana Stein has been such a champion on these issues.
As a candidate for state senate, I’ve affirmed this commitment by signing a resolution to support the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Initiative, which aims to expand and strengthen Maryland’s clean energy law to: 50% renewable energy by 2030, to remove incinerators from “counting” as renewable, and to create job training programs that provide clean energy jobs opportunities to the Marylanders who need them most.
My commitment to clean energy begins with the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs campaign and also includes a determination to stand with communities fighting fossil fuel infrastructure projects across our state. I was delighted to see that Baltimore City recently banned the expansion of oil train terminals, and am concerned about the Potomac Pipeline underway now, which would bring fracked gas from West Virginia into our state underneath the Potomac River, at great risk to our people and ecosystems.
Daniel Nemec, District 42b, Running for Delegate
In this incredibly wealthy state in this incredibly wealthy country, we have the resources to deliver a decent education, basic healthcare, and clean energy to every Maryland taxpayer and child so that we can all enjoy comfortable lives.
Climate change is a jobs killer. It is a long-term problem, but we are already seeing the detrimental effects. We see drought in some areas, increased rainfall in others, and because of Maryland’s roughly 3,190 miles of coastline, we are particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels. That puts about 61,500 homes at risk. Our dumping of millions of metrics tons per year into our atmosphere has taken an affect on the pH balance of our waters. Ocean acidification affects shelled seafood species like oysters, scallops, and clams. It’s been estimated that oyster-harvesting industries in Maryland and Virginia have lost about $4 billion in the last three decades.
Maryland legislators have a legal obligation to look out for the future of our State. As American citizens, we have an moral responsibility to ensure clean air and water for all Americans. We must scale back Maryland’s dependence on fossil fuels, and the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Initiative takes us in that direction.