There are many ways one could demolish New York Times columnist David Brooks' brain-dead op-ed on clean energy, it's so ridiculous. One way is this masterful demolition by Conservation Services Group CEO Simon Cowell. Here's an excerpt, focused on Brooks' absurd contention that renewable energy is "not a jobs program." As Cowell puts it, this "could not be further from the truth."
As of 2010, the clean energy industry accounts for more than 2.7 million jobs and outperformed fossil fuel jobs by a factor of two to one, according to The Brookings Institution. (Of note, jobs in clean energy also happen to pay well. By contrast, 40 percent of fossil fuel industry workers get the minimum wage, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.) It was just announced that all new electric energy generation in September was attributed to solar and wind. The latest "Energy Infrastructure Update," also states that renewable energy accounted for 43.8 percent of new energy generated in 2011. This growth in wind, solar and other alternatives will surely support thousands of jobs now and in the future. In the energy efficiency industry, an often overlooked portion of the clean energy economy, there are five times the number of jobs more than in the coal or oil industries. These jobs are expected to increase four-fold in the next 10 years.
In short, clean energy isn't just a "jobs program," it's a jobs machine. How anyone, let alone a respected columnist at the New York Times, could be unaware of that is hard to comprehend.
P.S. Great job as well by Stephen Cowell explaining the myriad of ways our energy industry hasn't been a "free market," but instead how government support of various kinds has been absolutely integral to the development of some of the most prominent fossil fuel technologies (e.g., natural gas "fracking") and artificial competitive advantages.