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Climate Change, Energy and Jobs

As the Trump administration seeks to set back the clock on efforts to control climate change, arguing that such efforts destroy American jobs and, in any event, are futile because China and other leading emitters of greenhouse gases are not doing their fair share, it is useful to cite a few facts.

First, the coal industry employs 50,000 Americans while in Texas alone enterprises providing wind and solar energy and/or advancing energy efficiency employ more than twice that.

Second, the cost of wind and solar energy nationwide has declined dramatically over the last decade and thousands of businesses and millions of households have taken advantage of this development in choosing their sources of electricity.

Third, government incentives to renewable energy industries fit neatly into the history of government assistance to endeavors considered advantageous to the nation as a whole—road and railroad building, oil and gas exploration, and the development of aviation, among others.

Finally, China and India, the first and third greatest emitters of greenhouse gases, are now well ahead of schedule in meeting the targets they set two years ago in the Paris Agreement. Their investments in wind and solar energy have contributed significantly to the decline in cost of these sources and will continue to do so. For the United States to reduce its efforts in these areas will not only render further damage to our climate; they will make our country less competitive worldwide in the energy markets for the future.

The simple fact is that the United States has been doing very nicely over the last decade in moving toward energy independence, job creation in the renewable energy sector, competitiveness in international energy markets, and management of climate change. Trump’s appointments and rhetoric so far indicate that he is determined to reverse those trends. Americans need to stand up and be heard on this matter to protect both their immediate and long term interests.

Written by Erin Clark | Printed on May 25th, 2017