Trump is Wrong about Climate Change, and Jobs Too

President Trump says he wants to create jobs, particularly for Americans left behind by an increasingly globalized economy. Given his policies, he's got a funny way of showing it. (Photo: Peter/via The Progressive)

Trump is Wrong about Climate Change, and Jobs Too

Donald Trump rode to the White House promising to bring back jobs for working-class Americans. But dismantling federal efforts to address climate change will make it harder to deliver on that promise.

On March 28, President Trump issued an executive order to roll back a decade's worth of climate policy. The order guts the Clean Power Plan, opens federal lands to mining and drilling, and removes climate considerations from policymaking. Trump says the executive order will save American jobs, in part by reviving the beleaguered coal industry. Flanked by coal miners as he signed the order, Trump declared, "You know what this says? You're going back to work."

But energy experts say weakening environmental laws won't bring back coal miners' jobs, which have been lost to mechanization and competition from abundant natural gas. Even coal industry executives agree: Richard Murray, the founder and CEO of coal giant Murray Energy, recently warned President Trump against promising new jobs in coal. "I suggested that he temper his expectations," Murray recalled. "Those are my exact words. He can't bring them back."

By attempting to prop up a fading industry while ignoring the real issue of climate change, the Trump administration also ignores the job-creating potential of efforts to prevent--and prepare for--a changing climate.

The clean energy and sustainability sectors are robust engines of U.S. job growth. Those sectors now employ at least four million Americans, up from 3.4 million in 2011. They are good-paying jobs, from entry-level installers to engineers and architects. Already, there are more U.S. jobs in solar energy than in oil, gas and coal extraction combined. And jobs in solar and wind are growing at a rate 12 times as fast as the rest of the U.S. economy.

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