A Green Stimulus Plan for Pennsylvania

COVID-19 has completely disrupted our lives as many people lose jobs and income, businesses are closed, and many people struggle to figure out how they’re going to pay rent and mortgages.

We know that our lives will be disrupted even worse by catastrophes caused by climate change. A stimulus plan that bails out fossil fuel executives will only put profits into the hands of the wealthiest and entrench our reliance on fossil fuels. Our lives will be greatly improved by enacting a green stimulus plan, laid out below, to counteract the economic downturn and ensure a just recovery. The question isn’t whether we’ll need a major economic recovery stimulus, but what kind of stimulus we pursue. A green stimulus will help make our society and economy stronger and more resilient in the face of pandemic, recession, and climate emergency in the years ahead.

Pennsylvania needs a green stimulus.

The green stimulus is a plan for economic recovery from COVID-19 that centers on protecting Pennsylvanians from the impacts of climate change through the creation of millions of good, family-sustaining green jobs with high-road labor standards to lift up workers and frontline communities. A green stimulus will accelerate a just transition off fossil fuels and ensure a controlling stake for the public in all private sector bailout plans. The Pennsylvania state legislature must prepare now to make green projects “shovel ready” by enacting the planning work to ensure that physical projects can commence as soon as it is feasible to restart major in-person work across the economy.

END ENVIRONMENTAL RACISM: Pennsylvania must create a climate equity fund that mandates 40 percent of benefits and investment during the transition be directed to frontline and vulnerable communities, including communities of color, the poor, and deindustrialized communities.

INVEST IN LOW-CARBON GREEN JOBS: Expand the range of low-carbon jobs, by establishing tax credits for all green projects that employ union labor, and raise the standards of caregiving jobs: nannies, teachers, housekeepers, nurses, home care workers, and custodians.

INVEST IN RENEWABLE ENERGY AND END FOSSIL FUEL EXTRACTION: Facilitate a rapid increase in renewable energy production, including by households and communities, through public ownership of and investment in our electric industry. Develop an off-ramp plan away from fossil fuels and towards the low-carbon economy we need. Pennsylvania must pass a Clean Energy Bill that creates a plan to transition to 100 percent energy efficiency and clean energy by 2030. This would include a plan to ensure that all workers maintain current salary and benefit levels, and are given priority placement in new green jobs produced by the stimulus.

INVEST IN ELECTRIFIED MASS TRANSIT: Create a plan to expand mass transportation that is fare-free and accessible for seniors, people with disabilities, and rural communities. Electrify buses and expand access starting with black and brown communities.