Trump May Have Just Killed the Fastest Growing New Job in America by Dumping the Paris Treaty
Trump Ignores a Vibrant New Industry
Donald Trump decided to pull the United States out of the 192-country Paris climate agreement, he announced Thursday. This leaves America virtually alone among nations in rejecting the treaty. The only other UN-member countries to reject it are Syria, which couldn’t send an envoy to the talks due to sanctions, and Nicaragua, which opposed the agreement on the principle that it didn’t go far enough. The US, considered to be the leader of the international system until a few months ago, now joins those two countries in isolation because of the president’s infantile ego, and the fossil fuels industry’s extraordinary control over the Republican party. And Trump sold the raw deal with a heap of lies, especially about jobs.
Defending his decision in the White House Rose Garden Thursday afternoon, Trump said,
“Compliance with the terms of the Paris Accord, and the owners, could cost Americans as much as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025, according to the National Economic Research Associates. This includes 440,000 fewer manufacturing jobs, not what we need.”
The Verge explains that Trump arrived at these figures by using worst-case scenario projections at the extreme end of a data range compiled by the National Economics Research Associates. The figures assume that businesses would not innovate at all, and would simply be slapped with escalating costs without adapting. The study was commissioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF), which represent some of the biggest carbon-producing industries.
Apart from the problems with these number, though, Trump completely ignores one of the most exciting developments in job growth today. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number one fastest growing job in America is wind turbine technician. The position’s “job outlook” from 2014 to 2024 is 108% growth, the highest of all jobs surveyed by the BLS. To put this in perspective, the average growth rate for all occupations is 7%, and the average rate for “Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations” generally is 6%. In 2016, the average pay rate for wind turbine technicians was $52,260 a year, or $25.13 per hour. The position requires “some college” but no special degree, and it offers “long-term on-the-job training.” The BLS also lists the outlook for solar photovoltaic installers at 24%, again, well above average. A young person with some technical chops who wants to make a good living and doesn’t feel the need to graduate with a heap of debt would be really, really smart to jump into the green energy industry.
During the 2016 election, there was a huge amount of yammering from all sides about the sanctity of coal jobs. While West Virginia relies heavily on this industry, nationally, it is becoming a dinosaur industry. In fact, according to a recent Sierra Club clean energy jobs report,
“Nationally, clean energy jobs outnumber all fossil fuels jobs by over 2.5 to 1; and they exceed all jobs in coal and gas by 5 to 1.”
The report also concludes that in 41 states and the District of Columbia, clean energy jobs exceed fossil fuels jobs.
If the US does actually remove itself from the Paris agreement, it will be a multi-year process, per the agreement’s rules, and it won’t happen until after the next presidential election, so it may not happen at all. But even the threat of pulling out is likely to be enough to dry up some innovation and investment in the green energy industry. One of the most promising growth industries, and one that is growing dramatically in its diplomatic value, is virtually invisible in this political debate. And the White House is wholly captured by a rival industry that is becoming obsolete both economically and morally. The fossil fuels industry is fighting for survival, and it has turned our government into a horror show of greed, corruption and self-destructive stupidity to do it.
The way the game in Washington works, for better and mostly worse, the green energy industry should levy an army of lobbyists and start kicking down doors in Congress. America’s economy and standing in the world, as well as the health of the planet, depend on it.
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images
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