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MADRE, an international women's human rights organization, spoke out today to oppose the Obama Administration's decision to send arms to Syrian opposition forces.
MADRE, an international women's human rights organization, spoke out today to oppose the Obama Administration's decision to send arms to Syrian opposition forces.
MADRE is an international women's human rights organization that partners with community-based women's groups to advance women's human rights, challenge injustice and create social change in contexts of war, conflict, disaster and their aftermath. MADRE advocates for a world in which all people enjoy individual and collective human rights; natural resources are shared equitably and sustainably; women participate effectively in all aspects of society; and all people have a meaningful say in policies that affect their lives. For more information about MADRE, visit www.madre.org.
"Today looks like it might be the start of a new chapter in Amazon's history," one organizer of the nationwide protest remarked optimistically.
More than 1,000 Amazon corporate workers and allies rallied outside the e-commerce giant's Seattle headquarters on Wednesday to protest the company's return-to-work policy and what they called its failure to fulfill its climate pledge.
Sign and chant slogans during the Seattle lunchtime rally—which was organized by Amazon Employees for Climate Justice and Amazon's Remote Advocacy group—included "Amazon: Strive Harder," "Stop Greenwashing," and "Hell No, RTO,"—a rebuke of a mandate from Amazon CEO Andy Jassy to return to the office at least three days per week.
"Morale is the lowest I've seen since I've been working here," one Seattle-based employee who did not want to be named and has worked for the company since 2020 told Wired.
This year, Amazon terminated 27,000 workers, layoffs that mirrored cost-cutting sackings at other tech companies that overhired during the Covid-19 pandemic.
\u201cHundreds of corporate employees at the #Amazon walkout underway at the Spheres in South Lake Union. Workers calling out leadership for the return-to-office mandate and failure to reduce carbon footprint\u201d— Jackie Kent (@Jackie Kent) 1685560576
At least hundreds of other Amazon corporate employees and their supporters took part in similar demonstrations outside company offices around the nation on Wednesday, according to reports.
"Today looks like it might be the start of a new chapter in Amazon's history, when tech workers coming out of the pandemic stood up and said, 'We still want a say in this company and the direction of this company,'" Eliza Pan, a former Amazon corporate employee and a co-founder of Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, toldThe Associated Press.
\u201cThanks to everyone who showed up to make #AmazonWalkout a success!\u201d— Amazon Employees For Climate Justice (@Amazon Employees For Climate Justice) 1685559893
Amazon spokesperson Brad Glasser told Wired that "we're always listening and will continue to do so, but we're happy with how the first month of having more people back in the office has been."
"There's more energy, collaboration, and connections happening, and we've heard this from lots of employees and the businesses that surround our offices," he added.
However, Church Hindley, an Amazon quality assurance engineer, told the AP that working from home has improved his health and quality of life.
"I'm not suited for in-office work," Hindley said. "I deal with depression and anxiety, and I was able to get off my anxiety medication and start living my life."
\u201cMessages in the crowd at the Amazon walkout in Seattle.\u201d— Kurt Schlosser (@Kurt Schlosser) 1685563537
Pamela Hayter, an Amazon project manager, started the "Remote Advocacy" internal Slack channel, which now has 33,000 members.
During the Seattle rally, Hayter slammed the return-to-office mandate, saying, "I cannot believe that a company in this day and age, a company that claims to be an innovative leader in its space, would do that to one of its most precious resources—its employees."
"Total employment in the nationwide U.S. energy sector could double or even triple by 2050 to meet the demand for wind turbines, solar panels, and transmission lines," according to a new study.
Achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the United States by mid-century would lead to a net increase in energy-related employment nationwide, and Republican-voting states whose leaders have done the most to disparage climate action would see the largest growth in green jobs.
That's according to research published in the latest issue of the peer-reviewed journal Energy Policy. The new study, summarized Tuesday by Carbon Brief, undercuts the old right-wing canard that environmentally friendly policies are inherently bad for workers.
Four academics led by Dartmouth College engineering professor Erin Mayfield found that shifting to a net-zero economy could create millions of jobs in low-carbon sectors—enough to "offset" losses in the declining fossil fuel industry, not only in the aggregate but also in most dirty energy-producing states, which tend to be GOP strongholds.
"Total employment in the nationwide U.S. energy sector could double or even triple by 2050 to meet the demand for wind turbines, solar panels, and transmission lines," Carbon Brief reported. Such growth in clean power generation and dissemination "would outweigh losses in most of the country's fossil fuel-rich regions, as oil, coal, and gas operations close down."
The study adds to mounting evidence that so-called "red" states now dominated by Republicans and fossil fuel interests—including particularly sunny and windy ones like Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming—stand to reap the biggest rewards from the green industrial policy provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act passed by congressional Democrats and signed into law by President Joe Biden last year.
At the same time, the authors acknowledge that some GOP-controlled dirty energy-producing states, such as North Dakota, are likely to see net decreases in energy sector employment, and they stress that "many communities will still require help to ensure a 'just transition' away from fossil fuels," as Carbon Brief noted.
In their paper, Mayfield and her three co-authors—Jesse Jenkins, Eric Larson, and Chris Greig, all of whom work at Princeton University—estimate how energy-related employment in the U.S. would change depending on different emission reduction contexts.
To simulate "labor market pathways of large-scale, low-carbon energy-supply infrastructure development," the team developed the Decarbonization Employment and Energy Systems (DEERS) model, which combines myriad economic and energy data, and then applied it to four alternative scenarios from the 2021 Net-Zero America report they were all involved in writing.
The transition scenarios, which assume varying levels of electrification and renewable energy supply, are as follows:
The authors expect overall energy sector employment to climb in all four scenarios, although net job gains are limited under E+ RE- conditions in which the deployment of renewables is constrained.
"We find that a net-zero transition supports an annual average of approximately 3 million direct energy jobs or $200 billion in wages during the first decade, and approximately 4-8 million direct energy jobs or $200-500 billion during the 2040s," they wrote. "The modeled supply-side energy workforce represents 1.5% of the total U.S. labor force in 2020, increasing to 2.5-5% by mid-century."
As Carbon Brief reported: "The number of energy-related jobs roughly doubles in both the 'high electrification' (E+) and 'less-high electrification' (E-) scenarios, which focus on the extent to which transport and buildings are electrified by 2050. The largest growth is seen in the E + RE+ scenario, which features high electrification and a 100% renewable power system by 2050."
"Notably, the research finds that many fossil fuel jobs would have been lost even in the absence of new climate policy," the outlet noted. "It suggests there would be a drop of one-third by 2050, as coal and gas are driven out of the market by cheaper wind and solar."
According to Mayfield and her colleagues, "In most states, job losses in declining fossil fuel sectors are offset by an increasing number of energy jobs in low-carbon sectors."
Carbon Brief observed that "this is particularly evident in Republican-voting states, which have larger energy workforces. In the E+ scenario, these states would lose around 700,000 fossil fuel jobs but gain 1.7 million low-carbon energy jobs between 2025 and 2050."
The outlet created a chart to visualize the paper's projection of rising energy-related employment under the E+ scenario in "red" states that voted for former President Donald Trump in 2020 and "blue" states that backed Biden.
In their paper, Mayfield and her colleagues cite the example of Texas, a GOP stronghold that is simultaneously the nation's top fossil fuel-producing state and its top generator of electricity from wind and solar.
As Carbon Brief pointed out:
By 2025 in the E+ scenario, around 480,000 of the state's 660,000-strong energy workforce are employed in the fossil fuel sector, more than 72% of the total. Within 25 years, many of these jobs would be lost as the number of fossil fuel employees falls to 123,000.
Yet the state would still see a big uptick in energy sector employment by 2050. The modeling suggests Texas would have around 778,000 energy jobs in 2050, with around 84% employed in low-carbon industries.
Despite this, Inside Climate News reported last month that Texas Republicans recently introduced legislation "intended to punish renewable energy and boost fossil fuels, including a measure that would increase the amount of gas-fired electricity generated by the state by upwards of 10 gigawatts and one that would limit the development of renewable energy in the state based on how much natural gas generation is also being built."
For decades, Republicans have couched their opposition to climate policies in the language of protecting the jobs of fossil fuel workers. In many cases, GOP candidates perceived to be defending the interests of dirty energy-producing communities have been rewarded by voters in those localities.
While Trump's stated support for coal workers benefited him politically in 2016, employment in the sector still fell by a quarter during his reign. Biden, by contrast, has made clear that "creating jobs and tackling climate change go hand in hand."
Evidence is growing that the clean energy transition is poised to be a major job-creator rather than a job-killer as suggested by right-wing lawmakers.
It remains to be seen whether the political allegiances of fossil fuel workers—who have previously expressed interest in moving into the green sector—will change to reflect the fact that Democrats, not Republicans, are most aggressively fighting to boost energy sector employment.
Of course, there are other important factors to consider in addition to the quantity of low-carbon jobs created, as the authors of the paper acknowledge. The quality of green sector work—whether it is unionized and high-paying, for instance, or precarious and poorly remunerated—will play a large role in determining public support for the shift to renewables.
"We shouldn't compromise on protecting our most vulnerable and disproportionately impacted communities," said Rep. Raúl Grijalva.
The number of Democratic lawmakers who said they plan to oppose legislation to raise the debt ceiling steadily grew on Wednesday, due to provisions that would slash food assistance, require approval of a gas pipeline that would cause the equivalent of more than 89 million metric tons of carbon emissions, and end the federal moratorium on student loan payments—all while maintaining hundreds of billions of dollars in Pentagon spending and low taxes for corporations and the wealthiest Americans.
Ahead of a vote in the U.S. House that's expected Wednesday evening, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), told reporters that she plans to vote no on the so-called Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, and that the caucus at-large may also actively oppose the legislation.
An internal count on Wednesday showed that "the majority of our members" oppose the bill, she said.
Jayapal said that progressives in the House object both to the Republican Party's tactic of threatening a default on the United States' debt—which could send the U.S. and global economies into turmoil—in order to secure concessions from Democrats, and the policies that were included in the bill as a result of that approach, such as new work requirements for programs that serve low-income households.
"We should have raised the debt ceiling long ago with no strings attached," said Jayapal.
\u201cLet\u2019s remember that this is a crisis manufactured by extreme MAGA Republicans. We should have raised the debt ceiling long ago with no strings attached, but they insisted on cutting assistance for hungry people to keep cash flowing to the wealthiest.\u201d— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@Rep. Pramila Jayapal) 1685549762
Jayapal was among the progressives stating their opposition in the hours before lawmakers voted 241-187 in favor of the rule governing debate on the bill, with more than 50 Democrats joining Republicans to clear the procedural hurdle.
The CPC chair's comments followed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's (D-N.Y.) statement of opposition last week, when she told The Hill, "My red line has already been surpassed."
"I mean, where do we start? [No] clean debt ceiling. Work requirements. Cuts to programs. I would never—I would never—vote for that," said Ocasio-Cortez.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said Congress has until June 5 to raise to nation's arbitrary debt limit. While lawmakers have increased or suspended the debt ceiling 78 times before, mostly under Republican presidents, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has refused to do so without major spending cuts.
"House Republicans raised the debt ceiling with no preconditions three times under the Trump administration, and yet, [House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)], at the urging of his extremist members, manufactured an economic crisis and threatened default to impose a partisan agenda," said Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.). "The hypocrisy reeks."
Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) also confirmed Wednesday afternoon that she will vote no on the debt ceiling legislation, noting that she filed an amendment that would have eliminated from the bill the expansion of work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—but the Republican House leadership refused to allow a vote on the proposal.
\u201cMy amendment would\u2019ve kept the exemptions for veterans, the unhoused, and foster youth, AND would've removed new work requirements that will force others into hunger.\n\nThe GOP refused to allow a vote on it.\n\nThey want to take food from the mouths of vulnerable communities.\u201d— Congresswoman Cori Bush (@Congresswoman Cori Bush) 1685553780
"We need to break away from the vicious, nonsensical cycle where Republicans get to hold our economy hostage every few years," said Bush.
Confirming his plan to vote no, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) cited the bill's provisions for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a $6.6 billion project that's been held up in legal battles over its threats to drinking water and public health. The bill requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to approve all remaining permits for the pipeline, which would carry gas from West Virginia across nearly 1,000 streams and wetlands to Virginia.
"Of everything in the debt ceiling agreement, the Mountain Valley Pipeline is the hardest to justify to future generations," said Khanna. "We are facing a climate crisis; locking us into fossil fuel dependency is a big step in the wrong direction."
Grijalva said he would not support Republicans' "reckless hostage-taking" and rejected the party's demand that Democrats "choose between economic catastrophe or a healthy planet."
"We shouldn't compromise on protecting our most vulnerable and disproportionately impacted communities," said Grijalva, who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee. "I'm drawing a red line in the sand against devastating cuts that impact the health and well-being of my constituents and the communities I represent. It's time House Republicans stopped the gamesmanship. The American people deserve better."
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was the first senator to say that if the legislation comes up for a vote in the upper chamber, he will vote against it.
"The best thing to be said about the current deal on the debt ceiling is that it could have been much worse. Instead of making massive cuts to healthcare, education, childcare, nutrition assistance, and other vital programs over the next decade, this bill proposes to make modest cuts to these programs over a two-year period," said Sanders. "Having said that, I cannot vote for this bill."
"At a time of massive wealth and income inequality I cannot, in good conscience, vote for a bill that takes vital nutrition assistance away from women, infants, children, and seniors, while refusing to ask billionaires who have never had it so good to pay a penny more in taxes," he continued. "At a time when climate change is, by far, the most existential threat facing our country and the entire world I cannot, in good conscience, vote for a bill that makes it easier for fossil fuel companies to pollute and destroy the planet by fast-tracking the disastrous Mountain Valley Pipeline."
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that he is supporting the legislation "without hesitation or reservation or trepidation," but the message to Democrats in a closed-door caucus meeting was, "Do what you think is right," Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told Axios.
Republicans including Reps. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), Chip Roy (R-Texas) have indicated they will vote against the bill.
A senior House Democrat toldAxios that McCarthy will likely need to "solicit [Democrats'] support and offer a sweetener to get them" in order to pass the bill.