In Case You Missed It – This Week in the News
Yep, we’re still talking about COVID-19, but with a fresh spin. We’ve heard a lot about how the economy is being impacted right now; where does renewable energy fall on that spectrum? Spoiler alert: It’s not great news. Also, our public lands (and the American West in particular) are under threat––from climate change and an administration making sneaky decisions.
JOBS: Let’s Talk About ‘Em
“As a result of the industry’s consistent growth, clean energy accounted for more than 40 percent of America’s entire energy workforce and over 2.25% of the nation’s overall employment at the end of 2019.”
More than 3.3 million Americans now work in renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean vehicles and fuels. For context, that’s more Americans than work as school teachers, bankers, farmers – and three times the number of Americans who work in fossil fuels. Clean, renewable energy is a staple of the American workforce, and is outcompeting the dirtier industries we need to leave behind to have a zero-carbon future.
How has COVID-19 impacted the above findings?
“The March layoffs were just the first indication of how badly the clean energy industry has been hit by the COVID-19 and economic crises. Much bigger job cuts are expected in the months ahead—making it imperative that Congress and state lawmakers seek ways to get the industry back on its feet, especially since clean energy has a proven history of helping pull the country out of economic crises.”
Because of COVID-19, more than 106,000 clean energy workers lost their jobs in March and up to an estimated 500,000 clean energy workers are expected to lose their jobs in the months ahead. For perspective, about 50,000 people now work across the entire coal industry in America; about 145,000 work in oil and gas extraction. As we begin to consider the second stimulus package, it almost seems like, if we really care about jobs, clean, renewable energy should be first on the docket. Just saying.
Our Playgrounds Are Under Threat
Most painful quote?
“Let’s be clear, canceling federal payments from oil companies will have no impact at all on the glut of oil domestically or internationally. It won’t save jobs, but it will hurt communities,” Huntley said. “Interior needs to protect the public and its employees who are managing these lands, and provide direct assistance to all workers who are losing their jobs throughout the West.”
When public lands hurt, our communities hurt. There’s some sneaky business going on right now, and we plan to keep you in the loop and bring you action to address it. This op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune from Jamie Henn and this local piece from the Boulder Weekly show that the impact is spreading across the West.
“The researchers described the current drought, which has helped intensify wildfire seasons and threatened water supplies for people and agriculture, as an “emerging megadrought.” Although 2019 was a relatively wet year, and natural climate variability could bring good luck in the form of more wet years that would end the drought, global warming increases the odds that it will continue.”
Our favorite places to play are under threat from climate change. But we can change the future of our outdoor escapes if we take action now. That’s the whole purpose of the Outdoor State which you can join by texting OUTDOOR STATE to 65351.