The Associated Press and The Washington Post fact-checked a pair of claims last week that the Biden administration has used, misleadingly, to sell its climate change agenda to the American public.
On Wednesday, President Joe Biden claimed that an overhaul of transportation infrastructure to support a new fleet of electric vehicles would create “1 million new jobs in the American automobile industry.” Biden said his administration could accomplish the feat by committing to replace the federal government’s fleet of 650,000 cars with electric models and creating incentives and regulations to transition U.S. transportation infrastructure to support electric vehicles.
The Associated Press fact-checked the president’s claim on Thursday, describing the odds of Biden’s plan resulting in 1 million new jobs as “far from certain, if not unlikely.” Many experts as well as the United Auto Workers have said Biden’s plan will result in a net loss of jobs in the transportation sector. The AP reports:
There’s plenty of skepticism about this claim. At least some of those new auto-related jobs would come at the expense of current ones. Auto industry analysts don’t see how a net gain of 1 million jobs in that sector can come from Biden’s plan.
One million new jobs in the auto industry is a highly ambitious goal that would mean more than doubling the number of workers now employed in motor vehicle and parts manufacturing.
Many analysts and the United Auto Workers union, in fact, have warned that electric vehicle manufacturing probably will mean fewer net auto-making jobs.
Since taking office, Biden has taken a number of executive actions cracking down on fossil fuel development and production. On Wednesday, John Kerry, the president’s special envoy for climate, said that jobs lost in the fossil fuel industry would be replaced by other jobs in the green energy sector, such as solar power technicians.
“You know, you look at the consequences of black lung for a miner, for instance, and measure that against the fastest growing job in the United States before COVID was solar power technician,” Kerry said. “The same people can do those jobs, but the choice of doing the solar power one now is a better choice. Similarly, you have the second fastest growing job pre-COVID was wind turbine technician.”
The Washington Post issued two Pinocchios to Kerry for his claim. He botched the claim that solar panel and wind turbine technicians were the first- and second-fastest growing jobs during the pandemic, respectively. Citing Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the Post found that “[w]ind is before solar, not vice versa, and those professions are projected to be the first- and third-fastest-growing jobs, not first and second.”
Disregarding that error, however, the Post said Kerry earned his two-Pinocchio rating for the claim that jobs in solar and wind could replace the losses to the coal industry. The Post did not attempt to account for job losses in the oil and gas sector from Biden’s executive actions. The Post reported:
For the purposes of this fact check, we’re more interested in how many jobs are represented by those percentages. After all, at the White House, Kerry mentioned these statistics in the context of coal mining jobs — “The same people can do those jobs” — which before the pandemic amounted to about 50,000 jobs (and about 30,000 below surface). Could these solar and wind jobs match that number?
In sum, no.
Wind turbine jobs are projected to go up by 4,300, from 7,000 to 11,300 in 10 years. The solar installer jobs are projected to go up 6,100, from 12,000 to 18,100. That’s a total increase of just 10,400 jobs — leaving 20,000 coal workers still toiling in the mines.
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