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Nevada State AFL-CIO Statement on COP26 Emissions Pledge

Shelbie Swartz
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Las Vegas, Nev. — Yesterday, at the COP26 Summit in Glasgow, world leaders promised to lower global emissions of methane — the second-largest contributor to climate change after carbon dioxide — by 30 percent below 2020 levels by 2030. Among those to take up the pledge was President Joe Biden. More than $19 billion in public and private funds have been pledged toward the plan.

The Nevada State AFL-CIO Executive Secretary-Treasurer Susie Martinez released the following statement in response to this pledge: 

“The future of our labor movement, and the future of work in Nevada, must and will include the creation of green jobs dedicated to curbing our emissions and creating renewable and sustainable energy sources. According to The Department of Energy, while most energy sectors lost jobs in 2020, jobs around wind generation, battery storage, and building hybrid and electric vehicles continued to grow. This global pledge will put many of our brothers and sisters to work in good-paying union jobs, and allow them to have job security in innovative fields that will assist the global community in curbing the impact of climate change.

In the last legislative session, we supported Senate Bill 448, to accelerate transmission development, renewable energy and storage, create much-needed jobs, improve health and air quality for all Nevadans, and reach emissions reduction targets. With this global pledge, the work done at the state level to create jobs in the green energy economy will now be bolstered with national backing and the support of the global community.”

At the start of last year, nearly 34,000 Nevadans worked in clean energy, representing after the sector had grown by nearly 40 percent since 2017. Fifty-five percent of all energy sector jobs in Nevada were in clean energy along with about 2.5 percent of the statewide workforce. However, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the growth of this sector has stalled. The Build Back Better agenda would invest heavily in Nevada’s clean energy economy and allow the jobs lost to return and create thousands of new, good-paying union jobs in that field.