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A Plea to Washington D.C.: Fund Training for Green Jobs for the Unemployed by City Tech Blogger Danielle Telemaque

 

Climate change will bring major flooding to New York every five (5) years, global warming caused by the release of carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere will cause ocean sea levels to rise as well as increase storm frequency and intensity as stated by a study conducted by A. Garner et. al for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, (PNAS), 2017. Flood hazards and coastal erosion in New York City are greatly increased by a combination of storm surges and sea-level rising. According to Mayor de Blasio’s release of the New York City Panel of Climate Change (NPCC) 2015’s report, annual temperatures are hotter, heavy downpours are increasingly frequent, and the sea is rising, (also mentioned before). These trends, do not only affect New York City, but also many parts of the world as well, and such trends are projected to continue and even worsen in the coming decades due to higher concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere caused by burning of fossil fuels and clearing of forests for agriculture. Sea level rise in New York City has averages 1.2 inches per decade (for a total of 1.1 feet) since 1900, nearly twice the observed global rate of 0.5 to 0.7 inches per decade over a similar time period. The United States is among the world’s top CO2 contributors, with China in the top position emitting 28.21%(or 12.45 million kilotons carbon dioxide equivalents) in 2016, a decrease from 30% in 2014, while US is second with 15.99% (or 6.34 million kilotons carbon dioxide equivalents) in 2016, an increase from 15% in 2014 according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 2017.

From the statistics on the harsh effects of climate change in the New York State, we must get off fossil fuels and begin using more renewable energy resources. More importantly, we must increase the number of jobs and job training in the green job sector. The green job movement began shortly after Hurricane Katrina struck the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the Summer of 2005. The movement targeted low-income Black communities, especially those distressed by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The program looked to target individuals in the criminal and juvenile justice systems, low- skilled workers, and other underemployed youth. The green job programs and other programs aided in strengthening communities, both people and environments in times of need. Imagine going through a natural disaster, losing everything, and have no means to help yourselves or anyone else around you. Poverty was now your story and everyone else around you. Green job movements gave people hope, and a chance to rebuild themselves and their communities. However, the funds for these projects during natural disasters was federal funds given out to help rebuild after a natural disaster struck, it was not long term. Much more serious investments must be made by government officials to fund green jobs on a long-term level. According to a study by G. Donhoff, an Economics Professor at the University of California Santa Barbra, 2014 in the last 20 years, the top 1% earn an average of 1.3 million dollars a year, while middle and lower class receive less and less. The upper 1% of the US owns 40% of the world’s income. One way to fund these movements is to increase taxes on the wealthy and on big corporations, and use a portion of the money to fund long term training for green jobs for the unskilled and unemployed.

This green job training program has since spread from state to state across the U.S., with projects in the New York State known as the Resiliency-U programs which aid in building more resilient communities able to withstand the devastating effects of flooding and storm surges to our coastal areas in the New York State. This program, created by the Mayor’s Office of New York City, began after Super Storm Sandy hit NYC in 2012. Superstorm Sandy loosed 10- or 11-foot floods on much of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, killing 43 people and inundating more than 88,000 buildings, according to a study conducted by A. Garner et. al for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, (PNAS), 2017. The city proposed a $20 billion resiliency program to address not only the risks of future storms, but to approach the risks of climate change. This however was funded through the collaborative efforts of government, philanthropy, the private sector, and communities all across the region, and focused more on the building back and prevention of coastal disasters, as opposed to training a job market to help against these defenses. It is imperative that while we have the resources to build a more sustainable New York State, we must create the necessary jobs and job training to upkeep the efforts of these sustainable projects, but this wouldn’t be done free of cost. Funds must be allocated to create training for these jobs, especially when there is a high number of unemployment in NYC. We must increase taxes on the wealthy in order to fund training for green jobs for the unemployed, to save the New York State Shoreline from global warming caused by fossil fuels.

One way to increase these taxes on the wealthy and big corporations, is to create taxes for renewable resources, as well as limiting the tax breaks for the wealthy. Firstly, let us look at the first solution, that is, to create a tax for the use of natural gases, CO2 emission and taxes for the funding of renewable energy. Big corporations such as oil companies like BP should be charged for their heavy use of coal and release of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere that adds to global warming causing rising sea levels. The second solution deals with limiting tax breaks for the wealthy and big corporations. However, President Donald Trump and GOP House Speaker Paul D. Ryan was able to get a tax bill passed in the house on Thursday the 16th of November 2017. The bill does everything but cut breaks for the wealthy, in fact, the bill would affect every American household and business owner, the aims to lower taxes on big time corporations in effort to make them more competitive in efforts to keep them from moving abroad. The bill reduces cooperate tax from a rate of 35% to 25%, according to an article in the Washington Post by H. Long, 2017. This bill however, is not one for mom and pop business owners, or anyone in or below the middle-class tax brackets, as it increases taxes for these folks, removing deductions that help keep families afloat. So, I must return to my original plea, we must increase taxes on the wealthy in order to fund training for green jobs for the unemployed, to save the New York State Shoreline from global warming caused by fossil fuels.

We must not sacrifice working class and unemployed Americans in order to increase wealth and profits for the upper 1% of the wealthy in the United States of America, more importantly, our New York State citizens. We need to rally against the greed of wealth for the already wealthy 1% and look at what is more important- the livelihood and future of New York state. More serious efforts must be made in the funding and implementation of green jobs funding for the unemployed in order have continued projection and growth in sustainable development in order to protect our New York State shoreline. I send this plea to Washington D.C, President Donald Trump and the GOP House. We must protect our shoreline and protect millions of people that will be relocated in the future due to flooding and storm surges.

 

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