Made in the USA: Bright future for electric vehicle jobs


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The passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act is driving a boom in green jobs announcements across the United States. 

Over the next five years, more than 15 states will boast new factories or production lines to manufacture electric vehicles, batteries, components and chargers, providing tens of thousands of new jobs.

Since the passage of the Infrastructure Law, auto manufacturers’ new investment announcements across the U.S. total $88 billion.

This includes a Ford battery manufacturing facility in Marshall, Michigan and expansion of Tesla’s factory complex in Sparks, Nevada. These two facilities alone will generate as many as 5,500 new jobs, the manufacturers say. 

Brett Smith, a research fellow at the nonprofit Center for Automotive Research, which studies trends in the auto industry, called the investments “remarkable.” 

“In the midst of the pandemic, the recession, the supply chain issues, in 2021 and 2022, the investment has been huge,” he says. “We’re seeing very large numbers in the jobs announcements.”

Policies and legislation promoted by President Biden, including the 2021 Infrastructure Law and the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, both of which include made-in-America provisions and billions of dollars in funding, have been major drivers of this growth. 

The Inflation Reduction Act allocated $5 billion in grants and loans for U.S. electric vehicle manufacturing. It also supports the retooling of existing car and truck factories to enable electric vehicle-related manufacturing, saving jobs at factories or production lines previously at risk of closure.  

And it includes tax credits for the purchase of personal and commercial electric cars and trucks assembled in North America. 

The November 2021 Infrastructure Law provided $7.5 billion for 500,000 electric vehicle chargers nationwide, plus $5 billion for clean school buses.

“There was already significant growth in the U.S. electric vehicle manufacturing sector before these game-changing pieces of legislation were enacted but their passage has really accelerated the pace,” says Environmental Defense Fund attorney Andy Su.

More jobs, cleaner air

What’s good news for the economy is good news for the environment and public health, too. 

Cars and trucks are responsible for about 22% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. In 2015 alone, tailpipe emissions were associated with an estimated 385,000 deaths worldwide. 

Environmental Defense Fund estimates that ensuring all new passenger vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2035 are zero-emitting vehicles would cut U.S. climate pollution by almost 350 million tons each year by 2035 – the equivalent of taking more than 68 million cars off the roads.

Families would save thousands of dollars per vehicle on fuel. And the pollution reductions would prevent as many as 5,000 premature deaths each year by 2040 and a total of as many as 98,000 premature deaths by 2050.

Announcing the new $3.5 billion Michigan facility, Ford’s Vice President for EV Industrialization Lisa Drake, said: “I think the IRA was incredibly important for us, and frankly, it did what it intended to do and it allowed the United States to capture 2,500 fantastic technical jobs and all the indirect jobs that go with it, as well as the future growth. A big win for the U.S.”

A new report from EDF and the consulting firm WSP found that more than half of the $120 billion in announced investments in EV-related factories over the last eight years and more than 94,000 new jobs announced have come since the passage of the Infrastructure Law in November 2021. 

While job announcements sometimes exceed the number of jobs eventually created, some companies have already surpassed existing hiring projections. The SK Battery America’s plants in Georgia exceeded their initial hiring goals of 2,600 employees, two years ahead of schedule, and now aim to add 400 workers over the coming year. 

In Michigan, Ford, General Motors and LG Energy Solution are planning new and expanded vehicle and battery factories. Ford and Honda have announced new plants in Ohio. The French manufacturer Forsee Power will also set up shop in Ohio, claiming it is, “building a ‘Buy America’ compliant presence in a very strategic market.”

Georgia is among the states seeing the biggest numbers of announcements. The Hyundai Motor Group is planning a facility that the company anticipates will create 8,100 new jobs. And Scout Motors announced plans to build a $2 billion electric truck and SUV factory outside Columbia, South Carolina that will employ 4,000 people. 

Electric vehicle manufacturing is also helping to retain existing jobs. 

Nissan is making a $500 million investment in electrification at its Canton, Mississippi vehicle assembly plant that will support the retraining and upskilling of nearly 2,000 jobs

Similarly, GM’s decision to build electric vehicle battery components at its existing factory in Rochester, New York will help sustain the almost 750 jobs there. 

“This factory invented fuel injection and now Rochester workers will help power the future of electric cars in America,” said New York Senator Charles Schumer, who urged GM to keep the factory open.

Environmental Defense Fund attorney Peter Zalzal said: “Each new investment and job announcement represents an opportunity to set a strong standard for what high-quality,  community-sustaining jobs in the clean economy can look like.”

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5 groundbreaking 2022 environmental laws from around the world

2022 will go down as the year the United States got serious about climate action. With the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, the nation’s climate goals are finally within striking distance.

The U.S. was not the only country to pass transformative climate and environmental laws this year, even as soaring inflation and the war in Ukraine slowed progress globally.

Here are five other rays of hope from around the world:

After more than a decade of inaction and backsliding, Australia has finally passed meaningful climate legislation — enshrining emission reduction targets into law for the first time in the country’s history. 

The law mandates a 43% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and stipulates that Australia must reach net-zero by 2050. While this action is historic and a huge step in the right direction for the world’s third-largest exporter of fossil fuels, Australia still has a lot of catching up to do.

Australia has long lagged behind other major developed countries in climate action. This new law puts it in line with the climate pledges made by Canada and South Korea, but it still falls far short of the ambitious commitments made by the U.S., EU and UK.

In recent years, Australia has been battered by deadly bushfires and record-breaking floods that have changed the conversation around climate change and helped usher in a new, more pro-climate government. 

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Sierra Leone has passed a sweeping package of bills that transform local communities’ ability to protect their land rights and the environment. The new legislation, for the first time, gives local people who own or use the land the right to veto mining, large-scale agriculture and other industrial projects.

The move is being hailed as the most progressive land rights law in the world and is intended to end decades of land grabbing and pollution by foreign firms who, until now, have only had to negotiate with government officials to make land use and leasing deals.

The laws also ban industrial development in old-growth forests and other ecologically sensitive areas and grant women equal rights to own land.

Despite a wealth of natural resources, Sierra Leone is one of the poorest nations in the world. At least 20% of arable lands in the West African nation are leased to international investors who pay a pittance to local communities and have often ravaged the countryside searching for gold, diamonds and other minerals or razed vast tracts to make way for palm oil and sugar cane plantations.

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France is banning short haul flights between cities that can be reached by train in less than 2.5 hours.

The move is part of France’s efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030 and marks the first time a country has banned flights for environmental reasons. Short flights are the worst climate offenders because take-off and landing are the most polluting stages of any flight.

The emissions per mile for each passenger are 70% higher on a short haul flight than on a long haul flight. And taking to the skies instead of the rails for a short trip creates six times the emissions.

For now, the ban will apply to only three routes, but more trips may soon be added to the no-fly list. While planes are becoming more efficient, and alternative fuels are on the rise, aviation remains one of the trickiest sectors to decarbonize.

That means that for now, keeping some planes on the ground may be the best way to keep their climate pollution out of the sky.

Companies hoping to sell their products in the EU will soon have to prove that they aren’t driving deforestation or degradation — or they will face hefty fines.

The law will apply to imported soy, beef, palm oil, wood, cocoa and coffee, and some products derived from these staples like leather, furniture and chocolate. Deforestation is responsible for about 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The European Commission estimates that the new law will protect at least 278 square miles of forest annually and reduce global carbon emissions by almost 32 million tons per year.

Colombia’s newly elected president, Gustav Petro, has called oil his economy’s “worst addiction” and rose to power on a strong social and environmental platform, pledging to leave fossil fuels behind.

The day after his inauguration, Petro unveiled an expansive new tax reform bill that included many major climate and environmental provisions. Now law, the legislation aims to raise $4 billion over the next four years largely through new levies on fossil fuel producers.

The law will impose duties of up to 10% on coal and up to 15% on crude oil when prices rise above a certain threshold. Oil and mining companies will also no longer be able to deduct the value of royalties from income taxes.

Perhaps most importantly, coal will now be taxed under the national carbon tax first established in 2016. Colombia is the largest producer of coal in Latin America and the 5th largest exporter of coal in the world. 


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