While the deadly COVID-19 pandemic brings with it a silver lining of reduced carbon emissions thanks to the industrial slowdown, it’s also poses a serious threat to various renewable energy projects, and industry advocates are urging lawmakers to pivot to defend the renewables industry as they seek to manage the crisis.
The nonprofit Environmental Working Group, for examples, is calling on Congress to accelerate the development of wind and solar energy in its response to COVID-19.
Noting that solar power represented 40 percent of all capacity additions in the US last year, and that wind power capacity has grown by 185 percent over the past decade, the advocacy groups points out that these areas “now could help create high-paying jobs when the economy begins to rebound,” with the renewables industry already accounting for three times as many jobs as there are in coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy.
Meanwhile, a group of environmentalists, climate scientists, and renewable energy interests have developed a $2 trillion “green” stimulus package aimed at helping the US economy to recover from COVID-19 by shifting to renewables, reports The Washington Post. The group argues that the fossil fuel industry is already heavily subsidized by the government, and yet offers fewer jobs and growth opportunities than the renewables sector.
“From our perspective there will be a stimulus no matter what. But it would be insane to reflate the fossil economy as it was,” explained University of Pennsylvania sociology professor Daniel Aldana Cohen, one of the signatories to a letter urging Congress to shift to clean energy support.
Such calls are supported by 18 Democratic senators and over 160 members of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, the EWG says.
March 24, 2020 – by Alex Perala