Reading around on reactions to the latest oil shale hubbub, I keep seeing conservatives saying that greens against dirty energy development are opposing "American jobs."
It’s important that everyone involved in fighting oil shale — and other drill-and-burn energy policies — understand something simple: the U.S. energy sector has very low "labor intensity." That is to say, fossil fuel exploration, drilling, and refinement is capital-intensive and energy-intensive, but it doesn’t create many jobs.
A dollar spent on efficiency or renewables creates more jobs than a dollar spent on fossil fuel development.
So it’s the fossil crowd that opposes American jobs. If they wanted to create jobs, they’d support putting people to work transitioning the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels.
(See "Energy Efficiency and Job Creation" by Geller, DiCicco, and Laitner, and "Putting Renewables To Work: How Many Jobs Can the Clean Energy Industry Generate?" [PDF] by Kammen, Kapadia, and Fripp.)
Get Grist in your inbox