The Next Superheroes: Carpenters. Electricians. Machinists. Welders. Truck drivers.

This summer, Americans will be treated to a string of superhero movies: Iron Man, Batman, the Incredible Hulk. They’ll take on their villains, defeat them and their evil plans and save the day. Lately, I’ve been thinking about a different kind of superhero: one that could save our planetary climate, create job security and new opportunities for millions of working Americans, and make the US more competitive? Maybe that’s a tall order for fictional characters.

But America’s workers could be the real superheroes who can do all these things, as a new report from the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Amherst Massachusetts explains. Researchers examined six important solutions to global warming (building retrofits, investments in mass transit, building energy efficient cars, wind power, solar power and cellulosic biofuels) and identified some of the job skills needed to actually build, install and deliver these clean energy solutions.

What’d they find? Fighting global warming requires a wide range of jobs skills – from agricultural inspectors to welders, the report identifies 45 job skills that millions of Americans already have – meaning that millions of workers are available to do the work we need to do in order to fight global warming.

The PERI analysis was sponsored by NRDC as part of our involvement in the Green Jobs for America campaign, which is a partnership with the United Steelworkers, Sierra Club and the Blue-Green Alliance. Read more about the report and comments by the groups helping to release it, including Center for American Progress and Green for All, here.

About the Authors

Pete Altman

Director of Federal Campaigns

Join Us

When you sign up you'll become a member of NRDC's Activist Network. We will keep you informed with the latest alerts and progress reports.