Extreme Temperature Diary- Saturday May 16th, 2020/ Main Topic: Loosing Green Jobs Due To COVID-19

Saturday May 16th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉

Main Topic: Loosing Green Jobs Due To COVID-19

Dear Diary. COVID-19 has devastated the United States economy, putting job figures and other stats into depression territory. There is hope that as soon as the coronavirus pandemic can be arrested our economy will bounce back, perhaps as strong as it was in late 2019 with an unemployment rate as low as 3.5% in a few years, but I have serious doubts. COVID-19 has shown us how fragile our traditional capitalistic society really is. This fragility is another reason for implementing a Green New Deal linked to social and economic justice.

Today let’s focus on how the pandemic is affecting green jobs. All the work done on solar, wind, and energy storage is essential for guiding the human race towards a bright, clean future. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is putting up big roadblocks going forward towards this future as people begin scrambling for survival, not caring or planning as much for how they will live five or ten years out in time. With less money to go around there is less investment for new infrastructure, and this is what we are now seeing in a world prior to any Green New Deal passage. Here is more from Grist:

boom and bust

Coronavirus has erased 600,000 clean energy jobs in two months — and that’s just the start

By Shannon Osaka on May 14, 2020

Renewable energy has been one of the few bright spots amid a global pandemic, as solar and wind power have surged across electricity grids worldwide. But the industry that supports renewable power is getting devastated: The U.S. economy lost nearly 600,000 clean energy jobs in March and April, setting what had been one of the country’s fastest-growing sources of employment on edge. All the job gains in renewables over the last five years have now been wiped out.

The numbers demolished earlier estimates. Jobs in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and electric vehicles tripled the losses originally reported for March, according to an analysis of Department of Labor data by BW Research. Their previous analysis had estimated that the industry would lose half a million jobs by the end of June; but that grim milestone arrived at the end of April instead.

“We saw those March figures and thought, ‘This is really quite severe and it’s going to get worse,’” said Gregory Wetstone, president and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy, one of the green energy groups which commissioned the report. “But I think what we didn’t realize is that March was just a signal of what was to come.”

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With state governments locking down huge areas of the United States in an attempt to curb the coronavirus, the unemployment rate has jumped to almost 15 percent, the worst since the Great Depression. The Labor Department reported Thursday morning that claims for unemployment benefits have reached 36.5 million.

Clean energy workers are no exception. During the pandemic, workers are unable to enter homes and buildings to retrofit aging equipment to make it more efficient. Financing for clean energy projects has also dried up, as investors try to wait out the economic downturn. And even those projects that are up and running are struggling to buy panels and parts from shuttered factories around the world.

The clean energy industry employed over 3.4 million Americans last year, triple the number employed by the fossil fuel sector — and without federal aid, industry leaders warn that the situation could get much worse. BW Research now estimates that the industry could lose 850,000 jobs, a quarter of those employed in clean energy, by the end of June.

Wetstone said he hopes that the federal government will take a page out of the 2009 Obama-era Recovery Act, which helped renewable energy rebound from the Great Recession. That bill included a provision allowing wind and solar developers to continue to use federal tax credits.

Even in good times, renewable developers often don’t owe enough in tax to the federal government to make green energy tax credits worthwhile, so they partner with big investors that can offset their own own taxes. When the economy slumps, however, investors don’t owe as much tax — and so are unwilling to participate. The 2009 bill bypassed this problem by turning those tax credits into grants. Doing that now, Wetstone said, could get many people back to work sooner.

So far, however, there are few signs that the federal government will help out the struggling renewable industry. “We’ve seen the president be outspoken in defense of the oil and gas sector,” Wetstone said. “And we certainly hope that our champions are willing to likewise stand up and provide the help that we’re seeking in the clean power sector.”

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Conservative elements in our society, including Trump as of May 16th, are pushing hard for our society to reopen, probably way to fast causing thousands of more deaths. As a consequence some green jobs may come back soon, but if a second wave closes society later this year even more jobs in association with renewables may be lost than would have occurred if we quarantined longer per our best medical scientist’s advice. I can see what is happening with my own eyes as traffic in Atlanta, Georgia has picked up substantially in the last week. I’ll be reporting on this as we continue to go though this awful year of 2020.

Now here are some of today’s articles and notes on the horrid COVID-19 pandemic:

(As usual, the most noteworthy items will be listed first.)

Here is more climate and weather news from Saturday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)

Here are some overseas “ET’s” from Friday and Saturday:

(If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.) 

Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”

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