The ESG Initiative at the Wharton School


Biden makes case that climate, labor interests can go hand in hand as auto strike fuels attacks

Outlet: The Hill
President Biden is making the case that fighting climate change can create jobs, countering a key Republican narrative surrounding the autoworker strike. 

Sanya Carley, an energy policy professor at the University of Pennsylvania, said that in the case of the auto industry, many workers will have similar skills, but she also noted that some plants are being moved into southern states that have lower labor costs, cheaper electricity and less union activity.

“We will see plants close as a result of less production of the internal combustion engine and more production of the electric vehicle,” Carley said.

She added that if a factory is local, many workers “could potentially move over into a battery plant because of the transferability of skills, but … there’s this geographic mismatch that makes it a little difficult.”

Carley also said achieving a just transition to electric vehicles will include a balance of decarbonization, worker pay and keeping prices low.

“This energy transition, if it is to be done in a just and equitable way raises a whole bunch of really complicated trade-offs,” she said.

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