US renewable energy booms despite Trump vow to quit Paris deal

News Hour

Renewable energy continues to grow in the United States, despite US President Donald Trump’s moves to dismantle clean power, deregulate industry and promote fossil fuels like coal, experts say.

Five months after Trump declared the United States would withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate accord, the Republican leader continues to unravel the environmental legacy of his predecessor, Democrat Barack Obama.

A signature piece of Trump’s strategy has been to roll back regulations, including the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which aimed to cut US emissions from power plants for the first time.

“They are trying to put their fingers on the scale in favor of coal and other polluting fossil fuels, and trying to do things to slow down the penetration of clean, renewable energy technologies, so that is the landscape,” said Alden Meyer, director of strategy at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

But many state and city governments have pressed on with their fight against climate change, and the job force of those working in renewable energies continues to expand nationwide.

“The trend is very clear,” added Meyer.

“To fight Trump, the investment and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency have continued growing.”

Employment in the solar industry grew 24.5 percent in 2016 compared to a year earlier, reaching a workforce of nearly 374,000 people, according to an Energy Department report.

Traditional fossil fuels employed just 187,000 people, it said.

Employment in US wind energy rose 32 percent to nearly 102,000 people.

“The renewable energy industry is already working here,” said Frank Maisano, senior principal at Bracewell, a law and government relations firm serving the energy industry.

“Jobs are growing dramatically in both wind and solar.”

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