In the same week in June 2017 that the rest of the world celebrate World Environment Day (June 5th) and World Oceans Day (June 8th), President Donald Trump announced that the US would withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement to which the Obama administration had signed up to in April 2016.
One of his justifications for this disastrous act is the claim that the Agreement has a detrimental effect on US jobs in the coal and fossil fuels industry. This may be the case, but however, he has totally overlooked the fact that today whilst the coal industry employs just over 160,000 people in the US, there are almost 374,000 people employed in solar energy and a further 101,000 in wind power industries.
- Natural Gas – 398,235
- Coal – 160,119
- Oil – 515,518
- Solar – 373,807
- Bio Energies – 130,677
- Wind – 191,735
- Nuclear – 76,711
- Hydro Electricity – 65,554
Renewable/low emission energies
You can see that solar energy employs 20% of the total energy jobs with coal only accounting for about 9%. (figures supplied by Department of Energy)
Clean energy employs more people than fossil fuels in nearly every U.S. state
Clean energy jobs have seen incredible growth in recent years, with solar and wind jobs growing at a rate 12 times faster than the rest of the U.S. economy. According to a 2015 report from the Environmental Defense Fund, renewable energy jobs in the United States enjoyed a 6 percent compound annual growth rate between 2012 and 2015. Fossil fuel jobs, by contrast, had a negative 4.5 percent compound annual growth rate over the same time period. And, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nation’s fastest growing profession over the next decade is likely to be a wind turbine technician.
Nonsense. The United States is notorious for inventing whole industries other countries end up dominating — because our private sector under-finances advanced development and commercialization.
Prior to pulling out the Agreement, Trump’s budget had already sabotaged America’s best chance to add millions of high-wage jobs. This lack of foresight included zeroing the budget for the Department of Energy clean tech programs:
- the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, which invests in innovative clean technology
- a program to improve manufacturing for clean cars, and
- the loan guarantee program, which jump-started large-scale U.S. solar deployment, the electric vehicle (EV) revolution, and companies like Tesla.
The budget offers this rationale: “The private sector is better positioned to finance disruptive energy research and development and to commercialize innovative technologies.”
That’s a key reason America steadily lost manufacturing jobs while other countries make so many devices invented in the US such as iPhone, flatscreen TVs, and most consumer electronics….
So how does this help to “Make America Great Again”? How can a country that considers itself to be a World Leader be so blinkered to its responsibility to actually LEAD? Most developed countries are now moving away from coal and fossil fuels as they recognise and accept that it is a finite resource and prefer to invest in developing new renewable energy sources. The Paris Agreement also provided funding for newly developing countries to expand their energy needs along greener routes rather than relying on dirty fuels that the rest of the world have started to discard.
How can America ever be Great again if there is no planet for it be Great on?