“and I happen to love the coal miners”
– President Donald Trump in his speech repudiating the Paris accords.
Nobody wants their industry disrupted – coal miners, anybody. To their great good fortune, the miners’ prominent backer Mr. Trump seems smitten by their support in his election campaign.
Yet big picture, let’s see if we want to upset the international apple cart. From the Washington Post:
There are various estimates of coal-sector employment, but according to the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns program, which allows for detailed comparisons with many other industries, the coal industry employed 76,572 people in 2014, the latest year for which data is available. That number includes not just miners but also office workers, sales staff and all of the other individuals who work at coal-mining companies.
By comparison, Mickey Mouse employed more than twice that in 2016. Walt Disney corporate employees: 195,000. From the same WP article, the bowling industry employed 69,088. Coal mining employed fewer workers than Arby’s (close to 80,000), Dollar General (105,000) or the failing retailer J.C. Penney (114,000).
Meanwhile, Forbes says:
“more people were employed in solar power last year than in generating electricity through coal, gas and oil energy combined,” at just under 374,000 people.
Coal mining, 76,572 and fading. Solar, 374,000 and growing.
Our president swaggers, defying international cooperation, most current scientific thought and, in these employment numbers, basic logic, for an apparent political purpose that has something to do with setting a firm jaw, driving wedges, and defining the prior consensus as evil.
To what end? Anyone?