Originally published on Red, Green, and Blue.
Would you rather be a coal miner or a solar power technician?
Bad news if you answered (correctly) that life would be much better for you as a solar power tech. Because if Trump has his way, those jobs are going to be nuked. (And frankly, he’s not going to be creating a million jobs down the bottom of a coal shaft. That ship has sailed.)
Writing at Mic, James Dennin points out that the Trump administration is ignoring one of the fastest-growing sources of new US jobs: Renewables:
Renewable energy is becoming a major engine for U.S. employment: In recent years, jobs in solar and wind energy are growing about 12 times faster than the rest of the U.S. economy, according to a new report from the Environmental Defense Fund.
The report also found that these difficult-to-outsource jobs pay about $5,000 more than the national median wage. Study authors arrived at their findings by examining a combination of data from the International Renewable Energy Agency, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Department of Energy.
Many of the jobs are easy to train for, too: Trade groups, like nonprofit Solar Energy International, offer accreditations you can get in less than a week.
For an administration that’s ostensibly about empowering the middle class with better-paying jobs, promoting the renewable energy sector seems like it would be a no-brainer.
But Trump’s team has reportedly floated the idea of scrapping the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy within the Department of Energy.
Compared to more traditional energy jobs in industries like coal, the employment “return on investment” for renewables is far higher. For every $1 million invested in energy efficiency, approximately eight jobs are created — compared to roughly three jobs in fossil fuels, the report found.
So, what’s going on? As always, ideology trumps pragmatism. Democrats like solar and wind, so Republicans fight it. Democrats like science, so Republicans want to deny it. And the Big Oil overlords — who, in case you hadn’t noticed, now include our Secretary of State and the head of the EPA — want to kill all competition and keep “drill baby, drill” till the end of time.