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More signs emerged of deep trouble for the energy sector. Clean energy companies shed 106,000 jobs in March according to an industry analysis of figures from the Labor Department’s tally of unemployment claims, including jobs in solar and wind companies, electricians, roofers and plumbers who install energy-efficient products, and factory employees who make hybrid cars, LED lighting, and energy-efficient appliances. And on Tuesday, the Texas agency that regulates the oil and gas industry held a public hearing to consider whether the industry should cut production to keep oil prices from falling further, a drastic step aimed at preventing a slew of bankruptcies and permanent job losses.
Why This Matters: These are unprecedented job loss numbers across the energy sector and production cuts are unheard of since the 1970s. The Texas cuts are unlikely since other states would likely just sell more gas and fill in the gap and the cuts would be very painful for the 360,000 people in Texas whose jobs depend on fossil fuels. At the same time, the oil and gas crisis creates an opening for clean energy to step in, but only if there are clean energy businesses that survive the pandemic. On the positive side, gas production cuts would result in a reduction in the methane pollution caused by flaring off natural gas.
A Disappearing Industry
Oil prices have dropped quickly since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. With little travel taking place around the globe, prices for a barrel of oil have plummeted from$60 to $20. The Railroad Commission is the organization that oversees Texas’s oil and gas industries – they held the public hearing to discuss how to deal with dropping oil prices and still compete with Russia ‘s and Saudi Arabia’s oil cuts. “If the Texas Railroad Commission does not regulate long term, we will disappear as an industry, like the coal industry,” said Scott Sheffield, CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources. This has been a growing concern for many fossil fuel industries. Younger workers are looking for jobs in industries that do not have a negative effect on society and offer more stability for careers. Now is the time to help fossil fuel workers transition to what had been more stable clean energy jobs — but now those jobs are in doubt as well.
by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer As the domestic electric vehicle market in the United States continues to hit its stride and new competitors vie in the race to electrify, Lucid Motors has emerged as an ultra-luxury competitor to EV darling Tesla Motors. This week, Lucid went public through a SPAC with Churchill Capital Corp […]
The Texas freeze and subsequent blackouts have given the Biden administration the chance to show the country how it will handle natural disasters, and they’ve already done one thing much differently than the Trump administration: acknowledged the role of climate change. And now, due to surge pricing, Texans are facing utility bills in the thousands of dollars for what little heat they got.
Why This Matters: The Biden administration wasted no time declaring an emergency and stating it would review preparation for future storms.
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Clumps of sticky oil washed up on Israel’s Mediterranean beaches this weekend after a tanker was suspected of leaking. Officials are calling it one of the country’s “most serious ecological disasters” that has already seriously harmed marine life, including sea turtles and a fin whale that washed up dead […]
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