“Drill baby, drill.” Many conservative voices have used this phrase as a call to energy independence, job creation, and economic prosperity. What people don’t realize, though, is that the transition to clean energy actually aligns very well with traditional conservative values. From reducing our dependence on foreign oil to providing opportunity for innovation from private businesses, clean energy not only reduces the pollutants in our air and water, but also delivers a variety of robust economic positives that align with traditional conservative values. Below are 5 reasons conservatives should support clean energy.
First and foremost, investing in clean energy can create jobs. According to the the U.S. Department of Energy, the clean energy sector provided over 8 million jobs and in 2021 and 2022, energy jobs grew faster than overall U.S. employment. The Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law in August of 2022, alone has already created upwards of 75,000 new jobs in the clean energy sector, spurred by more than $86 billion in private investments. The transition to clean energy will require workers in a variety of fields, including engineering, construction, and manufacturing, among others. By investing in clean energy, we can create well-paying jobs for Americans while also helping to address pollution and climate change.
In addition to creating jobs, clean energy can also reduce our dependence on foreign oil. As of 2021, the United States was still importing nearly 7 million barrels of oil per day, making us vulnerable to fluctuations in global oil markets and geopolitical instability in oil-producing regions. We have all witnessed the market instability caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and by transitioning to clean energy sources such as wind, solar, and geothermal power, we can reduce our reliance on foreign oil, enhancing our energy security.
Reducing Environmental Harms
Clean energy serves as a vital solution not only for improving air quality but also for addressing a variety of environmental harms caused by fossil fuel pollution. When we burn fossil fuels, we release harmful pollutants into the air—things like carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides, among others. But this pollution doesn’t stop in the air; it also affects our water sources and ecosystems, leading to problems like acid rain and water contamination. The mix of pollutants poses serious health risks, causing respiratory problems, heart diseases, cancers, and other health issues. People who are more vulnerable, like children, the elderly, and those with existing health conditions, face higher risks. Transitioning to clean energy isn’t just about reducing air pollution; it’s a comprehensive strategy to protect public health, combat environmental damage, and create a sustainable future.
Innovation and Economic Growth
Another reason conservatives should support clean energy is because investments in clean energy serve as a powerful catalyst for innovation and economic growth. As we transition to a clean energy economy, we will need to develop new technologies, products, and services that can help to support this transition. The need for these support systems drives research and development, sparking technological advancements in areas such as solar, wind, and energy storage. This innovation not only enhances the efficiency of clean energy technologies but also creates a ripple effect across various industries. As businesses adapt and invest in cleaner practices, new markets emerge, leading to additional job creation and economic expansion. Clean energy investments are a dynamic force that foster innovation, drive economic growth, and position the United States as a frontrunner in the global energy landscape.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Investing in clean energy also helps reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. The burning of fossil fuels is the primary driver of greenhouse gas emissions, which are responsible for trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere and causing global temperatures to rise. This, in turn, is leading to a variety of impacts, including more frequent and severe heat waves, droughts, floods, and storms, as well as rising sea levels that threaten to inundate coastal cities and displace millions of people. Wind and solar power are becoming increasingly cost-competitive with fossil fuels and can provide reliable, emissions-free electricity to homes and businesses. Energy-efficient buildings and appliances can also help to reduce energy demand and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
The Price Of Clean Energy
Of course, there are some who may argue that clean energy is too expensive or unreliable to be a viable alternative to fossil fuels. However, the reality is that the costs of many clean energy technologies have been rapidly declining in recent years, making them increasingly competitive with fossil fuels. For example, the cost of solar power has fallen by more than 80% over the past decade, and the cost of wind power has fallen by more than 50%. Moreover, advances in energy storage technology, such as batteries, are making it possible to store excess energy generated by solar and wind power for use during periods of high demand.
Investments in clean energy are a comprehensive and forward-thinking approach to securing a prosperous and sustainable future, and when looked at strategically, it’s easy to see that there are a variety of reasons conservative Americans should support clean energy. From job creation and economic growth to enhanced energy security, the benefits are diverse and impactful. Clean energy not only fosters innovation and private business development but also aligns with conservative principles of responsible environmental stewardship. As we transition towards renewable sources, we improve air and water quality, safeguarding both public health and the natural environment. By embracing clean energy, we not only meet the demands of the present but also pave the way for a resilient and thriving future for generations to come.
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