The April 6 Community Voices commentary “Clean energy drives Midwest job growth” has lots of data showing that the GOP mantra that clean energy will be a “job killer” that will “destroy the economy” couldn’t be more wrong. And it’s not just in the Midwest.
In 2012, there were, nationally, 137,650 coal jobs and 806,831 oil and gas jobs. In contrast, there were over 3.4 million U.S. green jobs in 2011 [PDF].
Solar now is creating jobs at a rate about 20 times the national average, and clean-energy jobs are better paying than jobs in coal, oil or natural gas. On average, clean energy creates about 10 times as many jobs as fossil fuels for the same energy output.
Solar and wind prices are already competitive with dirty fuels, and their prices continue to drop exponentially. Clean energy is projected to be nearly free in about 20 years, according to Google’s director of engineering.
And we can get there in a way that will cost taxpayers and consumers nothing, using a revenue-neutral carbon pollution fee called “carbon fee-and-dividend.” The fee is paid by all fossil fuel corporations and the money is distributed directly to every taxpayer, every month, in equal monthly “dividend” checks. As the fee increases annually, making fossil fuels steadily more expensive than solar and wind, people can use their “dividend” money to make a profit by switching to clean energy. This will create a $75-80 billion increase annually in U.S. GDP [PDF].
Carbon fee-and-dividend has been successful in British Columbia for eight years, slashing emissions while lowering taxes and energy bills and growing their economy faster than any other Canadian province.
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