The IBEW and the AFL-CIO on Wednesday announced an innovative partnership with former Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz aimed at protecting jobs while moving the U.S. toward a carbon-free energy future.
The arrangement, called the Labor Energy Partnership, will bring together Moniz’s Energy Futures Initiatives with the AFL-CIO’s more than 12.5 million working men and women to develop policy proposals for a 21st Century energy system that creates and preserves quality jobs while addressing the climate crisis.
“As the vice-chair of the AFL-CIO’s Energy Committee, I’m thrilled to be a part of this new effort to find solutions to one of the greatest challenges of our time,” said International President Lonnie R. Stephenson.
“At the IBEW, we represent tens of thousands of members who depend on low-carbon natural gas and zero-carbon nuclear energy, and Secretary Moniz understands that climate solutions that don’t take into account the jobs and communities that depend on those fuel sources are unrealistic and shortsighted.”
The LEP initiative will be guided by four principles, announced Wednesday:
- Energy policy must be based on solid scientific review that acknowledges that climate change is real, anthropogenic and represents an existential threat to human society.
- Successful social solutions to climate change must be based on an “all-of-the-above” energy source strategy that is regionally focused, flexible, preserves optionality, and addresses the crisis of stranded workers.
- An essential priority of all climate policy solutions is the preservation of existing jobs, wherever possible, and the creation of new ones that are equal to or better than those that are displaced.
- Climate policy represents an economic opportunity to the United States when the benefits of new technology deployment result in the creation of quality jobs and the creation of competitive domestic supply chains.
“The energy sector is a key driver of the American economy, providing good jobs across a wide range of technologies,” said AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka in announcing the LEP. “As we look at how to return to work safely and begin to recover from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, one of our most important responses should be significant federal support for high-quality energy jobs.”
The partnership will focus on the future of energy issues, including but not limited to: offshore wind; carbon-capture and sequestration; the viability of existing nuclear generation and the rollout of next-generation nuclear; hurdles to new electricity transmission projects; the expansion of energy efficiency technologies; the production of minerals and materials necessary for domestic production of low-carbon technologies, including rare earths and other essential minerals; and a roadmap for implementing carbon dioxide removal at scale.
“The IBEW has always been a leader in the energy industry, and this initiative, together with Secretary Moniz and our sisters and brothers at the AFL-CIO, will help to ensure that we remain leaders in our industry for many years to come,” Stephenson said. “We’re proud to be a part of it and look forward to contributing to solutions that preserve and create jobs while protecting our planet for our kids and future generations."