Department of Agricultural Economics: Undergraduate Research


Date of this Version

Fall 12-13-2019

Document Type



Mullins, Bailey. Op-Ed from ENSC 230. Energy and the Environment: Economics and Policy, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Department of Agricultural Economics, Fall 2019.


The Green New Deal will help will create jobs in the energy market. Many people fear that the workers in the coal mines or oil plants will be out of job but this is actually false. The Green New Deal will create jobs in the energy market, all while switching our infrastructure to 100% renewable energy. The Green New Deal is the best way for our country to become more sustainable, modernize our energy infrastructure, and do it without costing americans jobs. First off the Green New Deal will create 20 million new job openings according to Bernie Sanders campaign website. The Green New Deal plans to create enough jobs to not only cover all the fossil fuels workers but also have enough for new workers. Jobs in the renewable energy field also require more people than fossil fuels. According to the Energy Research Center, it takes twice as many humans to run renewable energy than it does for fossil fuels. On top of that, renewables offer a much safer environment than working in the fossil fuel industries. Coal miners that put their health on the line could be working in hydro power plants that require twice as many human positions and less health risks than the mines. The 2017 Energy and Employment report found that there was a sharp decrease in coal energy jobs since 2009, 57% decrease, while wind energy jobs increased by 37% in just two years from 2015 to 2017. This means is that in just a few years renewable energies are already on their way to being huge job creators. According to the 2017 US Energy and Jobs Report, there are approximately 86,000 coal extraction jobs, 12,000 oil extraction jobs, and 393,000 natural gas extraction jobs in the United States. Moving these workers to a safer renewable energy job will in total help almost half a million people live healthier lives. Historically, mass projects like this have been extremely successful. One obvious example would be the New Deal. The new deal introduced dozens of new social programs as well as work programs and reforms in our financial system. This was a massive project that to combat the effects of the Great Depression and it tested the resolve of every American. What the New Deal and Green New Deal have in common is the fact that it will take massive spending and investment. However, the costs tend to pay for themselves over time, usually at least a couple decades. But the New Deal is not the only point in history that took mass mobilization and cooperation. What many people tend to forget is that it created tons of new jobs. The Green New Deal creating 20 million jobs is no different, it creates plenty of new spots. On top of that, fossil fuel workers are guaranteed 5 years of their previous salary, assistance with housing, job training, health care, and retirement support according to Burnie Sanders campaign website. Moving to completely renewable energy is bold but it would finally modernize our system. For instance, France gets 76% of its energy from nuclear power according to the EIA. This is especially impressive because France is the second largest energy consumer per capita. Germany is already utilizing 31% of its total energy production from renewables and 15% from nuclear power in 2015. These two modern countries dwarf the United States. In 2018 the United States only 17% of our total energy came from renewable energy. It is blatantly obvious that it will take drastic measures of the Green New Deal to modernize our energy systems. While the Green New Deal is extremely drastic, it is necessary. History has shown that movements where incredible spending is necessary can work. On top of that, far more jobs will be created along with multiple benefits to fossil fuel workers. The Green New Deal will allow us to catch up to modern renewable energy producers like France and Germany. Most importantly, it will allow us to combat climate change.