Those seeking employment in the environmental sector may have just been given a giant hurdle to climb when Donald Trump was elected president. Friends of the Earth called his victory “a gut punch to the planet.” Other groups had harsher words still.
Trump has promised to reopen coal mines, pull out of the Paris climate treaty and roll back environmental regulations, while energy markets are shifting away from fossil fuels, according to economists, and the market for renewable energy is growing steadily. Thus, if he sticks to his word on environmental issues, Trump might wind up shipping more American jobs to China.
Experts say that growth opportunities for American companies and jobs are in renewables, not in coal. Making rebuilding the coal industry his top priority that would fly in the face of economic opportunity.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, energy demand in the industrialized world is only expected to grow 18 percent by 2040. For the developing world, that figure rises to 71 percent. According to economists, those countries want renewable energy. American-made renewables.
If these energy products are not available from the U.S., the countries will end up going elsewhere to get them. Countries like China, Taiwan and South Korea currently dominate the solar panel industry. A Chinese company surpassed a U.S. company at the top of the wind-turbine market. The fear is the trend will continue unless Trump reverses course.
Another opportunity for job growth is in energy storage, an area the U.S. government has made major investments. A shutdown of interest here would send more jobs to China.
Trump once said on Twitter that China invented the concept of global warming to undermine U.S. manufacturing, but China is currently taking serious action on climate change. If the U.S. falls behind, China would only stand to benefit.