Protecting The Environment And Growing The Economy Go Hand-In-Hand
San Francisco has reduced its carbon emissions by 28 percent since 1990, while growing its GDP by 79 percent. And it’s far from alone. Across the country, cities have been proving that protecting the environment and growing the economy go hand-in-hand.
A big part of this story is that cities – large and small, in red and blue states – have been transitioning away from coal and toward cleaner sources of energy. Clean energy sources are at their cheapest prices in history, and since burning coal leads to asthma, lung disease, cancer, heart disease, birth defects, and countless other illnesses, consumers are increasingly demanding cleaner energy. As a result, coal production is no longer economically competitive.
In fact, since 2010, nearly half of all U.S. coal plants have closed or switched to cleaner energy sources. As a result, the number of Americans dying each year from pollution from coal-fired power plants has been cut from 13,000 to about 7,500. That is great news for our health and environment – and it’s also been good for our economy.
Today, nearly a half million people work in the solar and wind industries, while only about 65,000 people work in coal mines. Jobs in the mines started dying long before coal plants started to close, because technology has allowed coal companies to mine with very few miners. There were more than 800,000 miners in the U.S. in the 1920s. By the time coal production peaked in 2008, the number was down to 82,000. As cleaner energy replaces coal, that number has fallen even further.
We ought to demand that government leaders do more to spur job growth outside of mining in coal communities.
In the years ahead, as the price of clean energy continues to fall, clean energy jobs will continue to grow – and cities like […]