Pandering to Delusions

On his first day as President, Biden restored US participation in the Paris Climate agreement.

Some conservatives were quick to condemn this as an act that would destroy “millions” of jobs in the US.

However, the US Chamber of Commerce, normally a conservative organization, endorsed Biden’s action as a necessary step in restoring US leadership.

And Forbes points to data suggesting that withdrawing from the agreement had done little for the US economy. In 2019, before the pandemic, the oil and gas industry created 18,000 jobs. Clean energy in the same year created 54,000. Frankly, neither is an earth-shaking number, but one is three times larger than the other.

And in fact, how can you lose 2.7 million jobs, as Trump claimed, when employment in the oil and gas sector in 2019 was only 242,000? The notion that retail gasoline dealers can’t pivot to offer recharging stations seems at best odd.

Oil is simply following the path of coal, but at a higher rate of speed. Just look at the recent history of Exxon’s stock price. It was trending down after the US withdrawal from the Paris agreement, and then went off a cliff at Covid.

Trying to preserve the past against technology change has always been a losing proposition. The best you can do is to try to shape technology change to optimize benefits and minimize damage.

Sources:

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/sarahhansen/2021/01/21/republicans-claim-rejoining-paris-climate-accords-will-cost-american-jobs-but-heres-whats-really-happening/?sh=7da40d07f4f5&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailydozen&cdlcid=5d1671091802c8c524db095b
  2. Yahoo Finance
  3. Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/193217/employment-in-the-us-oil-and-gas-extraction-industry-since-1998/

3 comments

  1. The US seems to put great faith in the Paris Agreement, but you should know from a European perspective that it is extremely watered down it is pretty much worthless. I remember seeing environmentalists in tears after the agreement was signed. “I thought Obama got it”, said one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not surprising. The “old technology” crew still have a lot of money to throw around, and nothing gets through the US Congress without compromise. Until progressives can present a front that is both unified and attractive to moderates, progress will be slow. The staunch reactionaries will go to the grave clinging to their buggy whips.

      Liked by 3 people

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