President Trump’s Rollback of Clean Power Plan Will Hurt American Jobs, Competitiveness

By Bob Keefe

E2 Executive Director

NOTE: E2’s press release on this subject can be found here.

President Trump’s plans to rollback the Clean Power Plan and other commonsense clean energy and climate policies puts our environment and our children’s future at risk.

It also puts something else at risk: American jobs and competitiveness.

More than 3 million people now work in clean energy in America, according to the Department of Energy. These are hard-working Americans who build and install solar panels and wind turbines; manufacture Energy Star appliances and make our homes, offices and schools more efficient with better lighting, heating and insulation. Solar jobs grew by an incredible 25 percent last year, while wind energy jobs grew by 32 percent.

The Clean Power Plan sets a roadmap for states to reduce emissions from existing power plans by 30 percent by 2030 by replacing dirty and outdated energy sources with clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency.

From a business perspective, the plan provides market clarity to companies on the direction the country is going on energy, which allows them to invest, expand and hire new workers to meet the expected demand for clean energy.

That’s why more than 1,000 businesses joined in a letter to President Trump asking him to support a low-carbon economy and why more than 300 E2 business leaders wrote Congress in support of the Clean Power Plan.

By issuing an executive order on Tuesday that aims to gut the Clean Power Plan, while simultaneously giving a grab-bag of government benefits to the fossil fuel industry, President Trump on Tuesday effectively kicked those 3 million American workers in the teeth and told them their jobs don’t matter.

His executive order solidifies the backward “America First Energy Plan” the White House recently released that will make America last in competitiveness by completely ignoring solar, wind and energy efficiency and putting all our country’s bets on the 19th century’s technology — coal, oil and other fossil fuels.

By way of comparison, less than 70,000 Americans work in the coal industry. About 195,000 work in oil and gas extraction.

While President Trump is determined to completely ignore modern energy technology and instead strengthen our shackles to fossil fuels, America’s competitors on the global market are preparing to eat our economic lunch.

As America retreats on renewables, China is investing at least $360 billion on solar, wind and other renewables over the next three years. Germany, long a global leader in clean energy, is working on policies that will send renewable energy costs to record lows — putting more money in the bank accounts of businesses and consumers that will be reinvested in the economy.

Fortunately we have some real leaders in our states that realize the economic and environmental benefits of clean energy.

In a statement Tuesday, the governors of New York and California reaffirmed their commitment to exceeding the targets of the Clean Power Plan because doing so is good for both the environment and the economy in two of the nation’s biggest states.

“Dismantling the Clean Power Plan and other critical climate programs is profoundly misguided and shockingly ignores basic science,” Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York and Jerry Brown of California said. “With this move, the Administration will endanger public health, our environment and our economic prosperity.”

About 500,000 Californians and 85,000 New Yorkers work in clean energy today, according to E2’s analysis.

President Trump has promised to be “the greatest jobs president that God has ever created.”

That won’t happen by rolling back policies like the Clean Power Plan.

What will happen is that American jobs and American competitiveness in clean energy will suffer.

Note: this blog post also appeared on Medium.