The NAACP’s report hinges on the idea that the more that states invest in clean energy and implement diverse and localized hiring practices, the more people of color will benefit in terms of income, employment, and health. Clean energy, in other words, can help create a more just society.
You’re not tracking? Consider that, according to the American Association of Blacks in Energy, African Americans spent $41 billion on energy in 2009, but they only held 1.1 percent of the energy jobs and gained .01 percent of energy sector profits. Meanwhile, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says there will be 661,000 green construction jobs at the end of this year, and an additional 7.9 million jobs created in other professions supported by green industries.
Perhaps this is why Jacqueline Patterson, the NAACP’s climate justice director and lead author of the new report, said on a conference call yesterday that the “production of energy is a clear civil rights issue.”