With jobs set to be a key vote-winning point in US November presidential elections, the debate is being framed along the polarized lines of whether renewable energy or a revival of gas and oil production at home will create more jobs. The truth is that both are engines for economic growth and job creation and they are working in tandem to increase America’s energy independence.
The mainstream media has a knee-jerk tendency to view energy jobs from a polarized perspective, focusing singularly on either job creation potential in the renewable energy sector or in the fossil fuels sector. This issue needs to be reframed for public consumption, with the understanding that it is the drive for energy independence that is paramount to new job creation in both sectors.
At a time when the US’ energy reality is in a state of metamorphosis, both renewable energy and increased efforts towards domestic production of oil and gas are important. While renewable energy will in the long term become the dominant sector, this transformation must necessarily be a gradual one.
The result of this transition period is a much-needed boom in job creation in both sectors. So how does this work in terms of vote-buying on the political scene? Supporters of the Republican campaign are want to convince the public that job creation is stronger in the domestic oil and gas sector, while the Obama administration focuses on jobs created in the renewable energy sector. This breaks the debate down into terms that the public can easily digest, but it is a red herring. As the incumbent, Obama could capitalize on this debate by more strongly pointing out what should be obvious: the drive for energy independence creates jobs across the energy sector, befriending both fossil and renewable proponents.
With that in mind, let’s look at the prospects for energy jobs at a time when the national unemployment rate is about 8.2% and millions of Americans remain without jobs and with dwindling if not completely exhausted unemployment benefits.