You are here

'Groundbreaking' Report Shows Promise of Greener Jobs for Former Fossil Fuel Workers

By Julia Conley - Common Dreams, January 3, 2023

New analysis shows how California "can achieve a just and equitable transition away from fossil fuels for oil and gas workers."

A new analysis out Tuesday shows how a just transition towards a green economy in California—one in which workers in the state's fossil fuel industry would be able to find new employment and receive assistance if they're displaced from their jobs—will be "both affordable and achievable," contrary to claims from oil and gas giants and anti-climate lawmakers.

The study published by the Gender Equity Policy Institute (GEPI) notes that a majority of workers in the oil and gas sectors will have numerous new job opportunities as California pushes to become carbon neutral by 2045 with a vow to construct a 100% clean electricity grid and massively reduce oil consumption and production.

"The state will need to modernize its electrical grid and build storage capacity to meet increased demand for electricity," reads the report. "Carbon management techniques, plugging orphan wells, and the development of new energy sources such as geothermal will all come into play, providing economic opportunities to workers and businesses alike."

GEPI analyzed the most recent public labor data, showing that the oil and gas industries in California employed approximately 59,200 people as of 2021 across jobs in production, sales, transportation, legal, and executive departments, among others.

The group examined potential job opportunities for fossil fuel workers "in all growing occupations, not solely in clean energy or green jobs," and found that about two-thirds of employees are likely to find promising opportunities outside of fossil fuel-related work.

"Our findings show that a sizable majority (56%) of current oil and gas workers are highly likely to find jobs in California in another industry in their current occupation, given demand in the broader California economy for workers with their existing skills," the report says.

Roughly a quarter of oil and gas workers are employed in jobs that are projected to decline over the next decade, while 18% work in production and extraction, sectors which will contract as the state begins to move away from fossil fuel extraction.

"For all declining occupations in oil and gas industries, there are available jobs in similar occupations in California that would allow workers to transition without the need for retraining," GEPI reported.

About 16,100 people who will be at risk of displacement into lower-paying jobs over the next two decades will be able to benefit from income subsidies and relocation assistance, which GEPI estimated would cost the state $68.9 million or less annually—far less than a 2021 estimate by the Department of Economics and Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, which said aid for displaced oil and gas workers would cost up to $830 million per year. Importantly, PERI's estimate included pension guarantees and income-level guarantees while GEPI's factored in only financial aid for people who face pay cuts.

GEPI's study showed that "California can achieve a just and equitable transition away from fossil fuels for oil and gas workers," said the Los Angeles-based advocacy group Climate Resolve.

In this new, groundbreaking report, @TheGepi's findings illustrate that California can achieve a just and equitable transition away from fossil fuels for oil and gas workers.\u201d

— Climate Resolve (@Climate Resolve) 1672766518

"As the carbon neutral economy advances, supporting workers at risk of displacement from jobs in oil and gas industries is one important component of creating an equitable and sustainable future for all the people of California," reads GEPI's report. "These men and women are expected to be able to transition with ease to other industries without retraining or a period of unemployment."

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author.

The Fine Print I:

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) unless otherwise indicated and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s, nor should it be assumed that any of these authors automatically support the IWW or endorse any of its positions.

Further: the inclusion of a link on our site (other than the link to the main IWW site) does not imply endorsement by or an alliance with the IWW. These sites have been chosen by our members due to their perceived relevance to the IWW EUC and are included here for informational purposes only. If you have any suggestions or comments on any of the links included (or not included) above, please contact us.

The Fine Print II:

Fair Use Notice: The material on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of scientific, environmental, economic, social justice and human rights issues etc.

It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have an interest in using the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The information on this site does not constitute legal or technical advice.