Many around the world have reacted favorably to the deal announced between the United States and China on addressing climate change. The details have created some discussion, but the overarching announcement is huge and could be a game changer if others follow suit. We are the biggest economies and polluters on the planet, so by making this demonstrative statement together, it is major step in the direction we need to go.
Attached is a link to an excellent summary on the “10 things you need to know from the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” report from the United Nations. This report clearly identifies the need to act more aggressively and we are well beyond the time move forward.
The naysayers have already begun their updated drone of a response. It will mean higher energy prices and cost jobs are the mantra. Two quick comments. First, the cost of renewable energy has dramatically declined and will continue to decline. So, the cost alarmists are overstating the impact. And, when the cost of doing nothing to address the issue is factored in, it will be cheaper to be proactive than reactive.
Second, this is not an either/ or jobs issue. There are jobs being created in renewable energy. In fact, there are more solar energy jobs in the United States than coal industry jobs as confirmed by Politifacts. Per Dawn Wallace of The Triangle Business Journal, in the third quarter of 2014:
“Across the nation, more than 18,000 clean-energy and clean-transportation jobs were announced in more than 20 states during the quarter, up from 12,000 announced in the second quarter. During last year’s third quarter, 15,000 jobs were announced, as calculated by national nonpartisan environmental policy group Environmental Entrepreneurs, or E2.”
Here are the top 5 states, with jobs created in the third quarter:
1. Nevada: 6,556
2. New York: 3,822
3. California: 2,070
4. Colorado: 1,333
5. North Carolina: 876
Rather than complain about the jobs that may be lost in the coal industry, the states where the industry is significant should have been reading the tea leaves starting ten years ago and planned ahead with a phase in to new clean energy jobs. This would have eased the transition. There is a lot of wind in the mountains where coal is mined, so wind energy as well as solar energy are there for the taking and it is not too late for coal energy states to move forward.
Of course, I am not a scientist, as the popular retort notes, but I am excited by this development of the US and China making a joint announcement to move forward.