Trump’s inconvenient truth: in the US solar employs more than the entire fossil fuel industry

Solar installers from Baker Electric place solar panels on the roof of a residential home in Scripps Ranch, San Diego, California

Solar installers place solar panels on the roof of a residential home in Scripps Ranch, San Diego, California, US. Photo credit: Reuters / Mike Blake

By Anders Lorenzen

In the aftermath of the Trump administration’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt appeared on Fox News defending the decision. In doing so he made a remarkable declaration; he stated that during the period Mr Trump has been in office, the US coal industry has added 50,000 extra personnel. Mr Pruitt said that this was a direct result of the president easing regulations. But the real facts tell a different story. The figure of 50,000 actually amounts to the full amount of people working in the coal industry. That number is down from 77,000 in 2007, just before Obama took office. These employment figures don’t originate from some left-leaning conspiracy organisation but from the US’ Government’s own Labor Department.

But of course, the inconvenient truth the Trump administration have left out of all this is the rapid increase of recruitment in the renewable energy industry under Obama. And job creation in the industry is continuing to surge. Many would think it is ironic that the Trump administration is so keen to revive a dying industry rather than support a thriving one, and would perhaps allude to the fact that it is more about ideology than economics.

A recent report from the International Renewable Energy Association’s found that in the US alone, there are 777,000 employed in the renewable energy industry. In the US, the renewable energy industry are now creating new jobs almost 17 times faster than the overall economy. The US solar industry now employs 260,000 people, which is over five times as many than the coal industry. Perhaps surprisingly the US wind industry at 102,000 jobs employs less, but this is expected to change as the country starts an offshore wind sector.

Perhaps Scott Pruitt will think twice next time before he promotes ‘fake news’ to further his own ideology.



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