Energy, Jobs and the Election

Energy, Jobs and the Election

solar-panel-installerThe fossil fuel industry is betting big on the dirty energy sources of the past. They’re working furiously, and spending millions, to attack pro-environment candidates as Americans begin to turn our attention to the 2016 election. The same industry that bankrolled the climate denial conspiracy movement now wants us to believe that supporting clean energy solutions means putting people out of work. That’s not just silly, it’s dangerous.

Serious people, including the vast majority of American voters, understand taxpayers cannot afford to continue subsidizing the fossil fuel industry at the expense of our planet, its climate and our future. We can’t risk the mass disruption that will follow if we don’t put the brakes on runaway carbon pollution. And as scary as the consequences of climate inaction may be, there’s a huge economic upside to embracing the clean energy revolution that’s already well underway. Clean energy job creation is vastly outpacing jobs in the dirty fuels sectors, and smart public officials are creating policies to attract those good-paying jobs to their cities and states.

As Ohio’s governor, Ted Strickland helped create tens of thousands of advanced-energy manufacturing jobs and lowered electricity costs for Ohioans by working to pass ambitious renewable and advanced energy standards. Now in his campaign for Senate, Strickland is facing millions of dollars in negative ads run by a pro-fossil fuels group with ties to the Koch brothers. Ted Strickland worked to create energy jobs in Ohio, the kind that will help the state’s economy, its environment, and the health of Ohioans. But fossil fuel companies fear a clean energy economy will break our addiction to oil and gas. They’re focused on keeping us hooked, keeping their tax breaks and keeping the dangers of climate change under wraps.

Energy jobs are helping to power America’s future, but the vast majority of them will be in clean energy sectors like solar and wind power, energy efficiency and advanced transportation. We have to help coal communities and families who will be adversely impacted by the transition to cleaner energy sources, but it would be dangerous and foolish to turn our backs on a brighter future.

Big Oil is hoping we’ll buy the false argument that America can do no better than propping up old, dirty, and increasingly unprofitable industries. They’re spending big this election season betting voters will ignore the obvious and growing dangers of a rapidly warming planet. They’re doubling down on the lie that the only good energy jobs are dirty energy jobs.

It’s time to call their bluff.

Denis Dison is communications director at the NRDC Action Fund.