Opinion, Berkeley Blogs

Trump should see that the smart money is on clean energy

By Daniel Kammen

If Trump’s business bona fides are all he claims, he should see that the smart money is on clean energy. Clean-energy projects generate more jobs than do the coal and natural-gas sectors . windmills300

With solar and wind projects creating energy prices between 2.5 and 4 ¢ per kilowatt-hour, the economic case is compelling — as is the argument for these technologies being the fastest way to provide energy access to the global poor, boosting their economic opportunities and capacity .

The economic benefits of clean energy are even more profound if combined with domestic manufacturing of electric vehicles, which bring new research growth to the high-tech sector. Renewable-energy options, in some cases supported by natural gas, are a faster route out of energy and economic poverty than are coal-energy projects .

And the global energy markets are embracing the clean-energy transition. Jordan, Kenya, Morocco, Nicaragua and many other nations are merging the business and environmental case to push for and beyond the goals of the Paris climate agreement, which became legally binding last week and from which Trump has pledged to withdraw the United States. These countries are building gigawatt-scale clean-energy plants, and ramping up their innovation and industrial sectors at the same time.

As shown by the activity at COP22, the United Nations climate summit currently happening in Marrakesh, Morocco, the world will be pursuing clean-energy and climate-friendly goals with or without the United States. It would be folly not to want to lead and profit from this transition.