Jobs — Fossil Fuels Vs. Renewables Laser Talk

In 2012, there were a total of 137,650 permanent coal-related jobs nationwide [1], and 806,831 oil and gas jobs as of 2011 [2]. By contrast, there were 3,401,279 green jobs in 2011 [3].  The Department of Energy predicts using conservative estimates that by 2030 there will be over half a million wind jobs alone [4].

Renewable energy provides more jobs than fossil fuels

The overall job story is that renewable energy will provide more and higher paying jobs, with more diverse opportunities [5].

This is because $1 million dollars worth of oil and natural gas output directly creates 0.8 jobs, and $1 million of coal produces 1.9 jobs. Compare that to building retrofits for energy efficiency (7 jobs per million), mass transit services (11 jobs), building the smart grid (4.3), wind (4.6), solar (5.4), and biomass power generation (7.4) [6].

The green economy already supports more jobs than the fossil fuel economy, and has for years, even though renewable energy accounts for only 11.98% of our domestically produced energy [7].

The writing is on the wall: the key to creating American jobs now and in the future is not investment in fossil fuels, it is investment in the green economy.

Skeptic Claims and One-Liners

Carbon Fee Skeptic Claim: Putting a price on carbon will cost jobs.
One-Liner: Wind, solar, and biomass generate 2.5 – 9.25 times as many jobs as coal, oil, and gas for every $1 million contribution to GDP.

  1. US Department of Labor: Mine Safety and Health at a Glance. June 30, 2013.
  2. Josh Wright. “A Broader Look at America’s Fossil Fuels Jobs Boom”. Mar 16, 2012. Blog Post. Economic Modelling Specialists International. Last accessed: 7-21-14.
  3. US Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment in Green Goods and Services 2011. March 19, 2013.
  4. 20% Wind Energy by 2030: Increasing Wind Energy’s Contribution to U.S. Electricity Supply.” July, 2008. US Department of Energy. p. 209.
  5. Martin, Scott. “Green jobs pay better as clean-tech sector booms”. Published: 7/13/2011. USA Today. Last accessed 7-21-14.
  6. Robertson, Joseph. “Building a Green Economy” 2010. The Citizens Climate Lobby. p. 18.
  7. US Energy Information Administration. “Electric Power Monthly”. April 2013. Last Accessed: 7-21-14.
  8. Sklar, Scott. “New Solar Jobs Statistics Released, But Other Renewables Are Growing Too.” January 28, 2014. Last Accessed: 7-21-14.


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