The Impact of Climate Change on Work and Working People in Maryland: A Guide for Working People, Organized Labor and Climate Protection Advocates

From the Labor Network for Sustainability, this is a study of the impact of climate change on work and working people in Maryland. The guide reviews existing climate impacts on the state, and provides strategic recommendations for supporting the workforce and green economy.

The report is introduced with the need for an understanding of the impacts of climate change on working people:

  • Workplaces are large emitters of carbon, and greening can have a significant impact on carbon reduction
  • Solving the climate crisis will require that working people and their unions to be part of the solution. 
  • Climate change, as well as the efforts to mitigate and adapt to it, will fundamentally alter the nature of work. 

This paper suggests that the goal should be to solve the climate crisis and the economic crisis with the same set of policies. This will involve imagining what a just transition will be for workers, recognizing that many resident's lives are intricately tied to high-emission energy sources. To change course, decisionmakers should envision transition assistance that is meaningful and that protects not only individual workers, but also whole communities. While this resource is primarily focused on the green economy, it also recognizes that adaptation and related construction jobs could be part of the solution.

The first chapter examines the occupations, industries and demographics of people who work in Maryland. The impacts on climate change on the state are then reviewed including floods, storms, and heat waves - along with the predictable future consequences if climate change is not addressed. Examples are provided of how climate is already impacting working people in ports, harbors, farms, tourism, health care, and government. Sector-wide impacts are also described, including the destruction of infrastructure, rising energy costs, and loss of markets and public revenue. 

Chapter 5, “Climate protecting jobs,” offers present and future ways that climate adaptation and mitigation can also be a means for addressing Maryland’s economic problems by creating large numbers of new green jobs.




Publication Date: 2014

Related Organizations:

  • Labor Network for Sustainability


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Assessment

States Affected:


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