Discover more from Wonkette
Oh No Not A JOBS PROGRAM To Fight CLIMATE CHANGE!
Fox News, you're doin 'Climate Corps scaremongering' wrong.
Joe Biden fulfilled another campaign promise yesterday, announcing the creation of the “American Climate Corps,” a jobs training program to get young Americans ready for careers in the clean energy economy that America is creating to fight climate change. A White House fact sheet says the program, based partly on one of the most popular parts of FDR’s New Deal, the Civilian Conservation Corps, aims to recruit more than 20,000 young people to go to work
conserving and restoring our lands and waters, bolstering community resilience, deploying clean energy, implementing energy efficient technologies, and advancing environmental justice, all while creating pathways to high-quality, good-paying clean energy and climate resilience jobs in the public and private sectors after they complete their paid training program.
This is really going to be a huge deal, since the green energy transition is going to need lots of new electricians and tradespeople to build out renewable energy projects in the private sector and to clean up the debris of the doomed fossil fuel infrastructure, as well as people to help states and municipalities access the federal grants and loans that will be key to getting it all in place. As Biden says, when he talks climate, he’s talking jobs, and there are going to be lots of them created over the next decade.
Biden initially proposed the Climate Corps while campaigning, and in his sweeping “Climate Day” announcement his first week in office. It was in his first big domestic initiative, the “American Jobs Plan,” which morphed into the Build Back Better bill, but by the time that too was transformed into 2022’s Inflation Reduction Act, the Climate Corps had been removed. (Even without it, the IRA and other Biden initiatives comprise the most comprehensive climate package the US — and maybe any other country — has enacted into law.)
Varshini Prakash, the executive director of the youth climate organization the Sunrise Movement, helped advise the White House on climate matters, and told reporters yesterday,
“I am thrilled to say that the White House has been responsive to our generation's demand for a Climate Corps and that President Biden acknowledges that this is just the beginning of building the climate workforce of the future.”
Prakash and the Sunrise Movement have often criticized the Biden administration for not being hardline enough on climate, particularly after Biden approved the ConocoPhillips “Willow” oil development project in Alaska earlier this year. This is where we sigh and point out that Willow had already moved so far through the permitting process before Biden took office that even if he’d refused to approve it, ConocoPhillips would have sued, and would almost certainly win any long, expensive litigation in the end. The Atlantic offered this consolation, or perhaps predictive schadenfreude: Even if ConocoPhillips starts developing the site this year, Willow wouldn’t produce its first oil until 2029, by which time the world’s transition to clean energy is likely to be so far along that there’ll be no market for it, so Willow may end up a huge stranded asset — and the company may even decide to abandon the site before drilling at all.
Might be kind of cool if restoring the abandoned Willow site were simply one more project for the Climate Corps to work on, huh?
Ah, but we digress. As the AP points out, doing this with an executive order and not a line-item in a bill passed by Congress means there’s no dedicated funding for the Climate Corps, so paying for it will take some creativity beyond the initial startup phase. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) explained that funds from the IRA and the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will be sufficient to provide a “down payment” on the program and the first tranche of jobs, and presumably further funding will need to be approved by Congress.
Not surprisingly, Republicans are already dismissing the program, because why do we need to do anything about climate anyway?
“We don’t need another FDR program, and the idea that this is going to help land management is a false idea as well,” Arkansas Rep. Bruce Westerman, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, said in 2021.
On the other hand, fuck him, he’s wrong.
NPR: “Biden is unveiling the American Climate Corps, a program with echoes of the New Deal”
Fox News headline: “Biden unveils massive govt work program to fight global warming”
Subhead: “Biden's climate corps will hire 'diverse generation' of 20,000 Americans to 'tackle climate change'; no work experience required.”
We’ll give Fox this much credit: The writers left it up to readers to provide “Woke Left” all on their own, the end.
Yr Wonkette is funded entirely by reader donations. If you can, please subscribe so we can keep bringing you the Nice Time, or if you prefer, donate your own “green energy” — WE MEAN MONEY, BUSTER — with this friendly button.