Fact checkers from the Washington Post and the Associated Press have claimed that the Biden administration's claim that they will replace lost jobs as part of their climate plan does not mathematically add up.
The Washington Post fact-checked a claim made by John Kerry, the President's climate change envoy, on Wednesday. Kerry claimed that while the Biden administration seeks to phase out oil and gas as integral parts of the American economy, these jobs can be replaced by others including solar panel and wind turbine technician, which he said were the first and second fastest growing jobs in the United States respectively.
Kerry bungled his numbers a bit, with solar panel and wind turbine technicians being the third and first fastest growing jobs in the US respectively prior to the coronavirus pandemic, but the claims were close enough to the truth. More pernicious, however, was the claim that these jobs could effectively replace jobs in the fossil fuel industry, which the fact-checkers took more interest in.
While these jobs are among the fastest growing in the United States by percentage increase, they are far from the fast growing in absolute terms. More than 600 other jobs in the United States are growing faster in absolute numbers than jobs in installing solar panels, with wind turbine technician job openings even further behind. As the Washington Post notes, "[the] percentage gain is so high because the number of jobs in 2019 for both solar panel installers and wind turbine technicians is relatively small."
In total, it is expected that little more than 10,000 jobs will be created for solar panel and wind turbine technicians in the next ten years. This amounts to roughly 20% of the number of people employed in the coal industry, let alone oil and gas.
Another fact check from the Associated Press details Biden's claim that his climate plan will create one million new jobs in the auto industry, a claim which they described as "far from certain, if not unlikely" and based on "fuzzy math."
The fact-checkers note that Biden's claim would require the doubling of employment in the auto sector as it makes the transition towards electric cars. However, AP notes that transitioning towards electric vehicles will likely decrease employment in the auto sector "because electric vehicles generally have 30% to 40% fewer parts and are simpler to build."
The fact-checkers also pointed out that vehicle sales in the United States are expected to remain relatively flat over the next ten years, making the claim that the administration could double the size of the auto sector even more questionable.
Texas, where the fossil fuel industry plays a large role in the economy, has already announced that they would be using any legal means possible to fight against the Biden administration's energy policies.