At the same time President-elect Trump brags about saving manufacturing jobs, he’s allowing China to have unfettered dominance in a key industry.
If Trump’s blasting of now-bankrupt solar energy company Solyndra during the campaign season is any indicator, his administration is unlikely to make any considerable investments in the renewable energy sector. However, the green energy industry is only growing, and China is poised to become the world leader in high-paying renewable energy jobs in solar, wind, and other green technologies.
In a statement released last week’s China’s National Energy Administration detailed its plans to invest approximately $360 billion (2.5 trillion yuan) in developing renewable energy infrastructure, which it claims will result in 13 million new jobs by 2020. China is investing in all forms of renewable energy, from solar, to wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydroelectric, over the remainder of the decade.
China — assuming its numbers are correct — would far outpace the rest of the world in green energy jobs with the newly announced investments. A recent press release from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) claimed that the renewable energy sector currently employs 8.1 million people around the world, making China’s 13 million job promise all the more impressive. Solar is the largest source of new job growth, with some 2.8 million jobs worldwide, marking an 11 percent increase from IRENA’s last survey.
Trump’s refusal to acknowledge the research of climate scientists worldwide and insist on investments in dirty and outdated forms of energy production, like coal, are likely to harm not only the environment, but the economy over the long term. As the New York Times reported, even the most conservative states are putting aside ideology to make investments in one of the fastest growing industries in the world:
[C]lean energy is creating jobs in every state, not just the ones that have oil or gas in the ground. Even the most politically conservative states, like Kansas and Iowa, are leaders in wind power and are likely to continue investing in it.
“No longer is there a trade-off between what you believe in and what you can make money off of,” said Nancy Pfund, a founder and managing partner of DBL Partners, which made early investments in SolarCity and Tesla.
The President-elect has, as of this writing, made no promises to invest in American job creation in the renewable energy sector. To the contrary, Trump has used his Twitter account to blast climate change as a hoax conjured by the Chinese to harm the American economy, and criticize federal programs aiming to combat the effects of climate change:
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2012
Ugly wind turbines have destroyed the entrance to Palm Springs, CA. These monstrosities are ruining landscapes (cont) http://t.co/t8WnhWxT
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 17, 2012
If I am elected President I will immediately approve the Keystone XL pipeline. No impact on environment & lots of jobs for U.S.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 18, 2015
It’s snowing & freezing in NYC. What the hell ever happened to global warming?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2013
Tom Cahill is a writer for US Uncut based in the Pacific Northwest. He specializes in coverage of political, economic, and environmental news. You can contact him via email at [email protected], or follow him on Facebook.