The New York Times is pushing back against some of the green jobs promises Democratic primary candidates have made ahead of the CNN Climate Town Hall on Wednesday.
Liz Friedman, a climate and environmental policy reporter for the Times, writes that “nearly every presidential candidate claims that cutting greenhouse gases will lead to an economic bananza,” but also notes that some experts believe that the reality is “far more complicated.”
Douglas W. Elmendorf, former director of the Congressional Budget Office and Dean at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, warns that economists are generally “skeptical of claims of big numbers of jobs gained or lost from policies that are really about shifting sectors” of the economy, reports the Times.
Although Friedman writes that economists “generally agree that inaction on climate change would result in deep economic pain for the United States,” she proceeds to mention three important observations about the Democratic primary candidates’ proposals.
First, she says that candidates are relying on a wide variety of methods to determine net job gains, and the “estimates are rough, at best.” Second, “the shift will be more painful for some” — particularly coal miners — than for others. Third, she states that “not all jobs are created equal,” and mentions that Elmendorf believes a unique challenge will be “creating good jobs for people without college degrees in places they live.”
The pushback comes on the heels of the CNN Climate Town Hall, in which the ten candidates who will be in the next Democratic presidential primary debate will discuss their plans to combat climate change at length.
Several hours ahead of the Townhall, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) released a $10 trillion plan promising to “fight against powerful interests” and to invest in new technology and infrastructure, according to the campaign website. The plan makes no mention of nuclear energy, which many experts argue is key to a practical climate change solution.
Neal Cohen, senior vice president for external affairs at the Nuclear Energy Institute, says that nuclear energy “represents close to 55 percent of the carbon-free energy in this country” and that reducing carbon emissions would require maintaining that level in conjunction with adding additional energy sources, according to The Hill. “It’s not going to solve the problem if you take nuclear offline,” he added.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, who released a staggering $16.3 trillion climate plan last week that he claims will create 20 million jobs, has come out against “false solutions like nuclear power,” reports the New York Times.