California’s mandates to replace diesel trucks with zero-emission electric trucks will bring cleaner air and better jobs – if they stay on track. Slow action by electric utilities and fierce opposition by trucking companies are real threats. Displacement of brick-and-mortar retail stores by online retailing and sprawling warehouses has come at the cost of climate change, bad air, low wages.
The Inland Valley Development Agency plans to convert a 678-acre residential and mixed-use area north of San Bernardino International Airport into 9.2 million-square feet of warehouse and industrial space to create “a thriving jobs center.” This gesture at economic development has already been shown to create poverty-level jobs, economic hardship, and precariously housed workers.
Households in the Los Angeles metro region paid $7.2 billion for packages from Amazon.com in 2018. Less publicly visible was more than $790 million paid out in public subsidies and uncompensated public costs that supported Amazon’s profitability. It is time for Amazon to come of age and pay its own way. This means paying its full costs to the communities that host it and the workers who create its profits.
Communities in Los Angeles County have a new set of tools for land use decisions and development policies that decrease greenhouse gas emissions and improve workers’ wages. A report by the Economic Roundtable, Industry Greenhouse Gas and Wage Sustainability, identifies the climate change effects as well as the wage sustainability of jobs in each industry.