Who would have thought that clean energy would become the source of such scorn for Mitt Romney, a candidate who called transitioning away from fossil fuels “a must”in 2007?
The Romney campaign released a new campaign ad this morning attacking clean energy jobs. Just like every other ad on the issue this election cycle, this one cherry picks a few stories and claims that efforts to create jobs in this sector have failed.
As numerous reports have shown, the claims in this ad are completely absurd: The Brookings Institution found that the stimulus helped the clean energy sector grow 8.3 percent during the height of the recession; a report from the Department of Energy showed that the 1603 Treasury Grant Program supported 75,000 jobs and $25 billion gross economic activity; and a recent analysis from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the clean economy now employs 3.1 million people — with growth in the last few years happening in every geographic region of the U.S.
And in a masterful piece of spin, the campaign ad actually insinuates that Obama is responsible for 10,000 job losses in the wind industry. Ask anyone in the wind industry and they’ll tell you those jobs have been shed because of Congress’ inability to pass the production tax credit and give businesses in the sector certainty — threatening an additional 37,000 jobs today. In fact, it was the stimulus package that helped the wind industry maintain 85,000 jobs during the height of the recession in 2009.
But here’s the real kicker: There are actually 64,000 renewable energy and energy efficiency jobs currently in Romney’s home state of Massachusetts. Because of strong state and federal policies (which Romney once supported), employment in Massachusetts’ clean energy sector grew 6.7 percent between 2010 and 2011 — crushing the 1% growth rate in the rest of the economy.