Sometimes, oil and gas spokespeople are sneaky about the source of their funding, hiding behind multiple layers of shell groups in order to appear neutral. Energy in Depth is not one of those groups and, to its credit, the organization is relatively up front about being a “research, education and public outreach campaign” launched by the Independent Petroleum Association of America, meaning it functions as Big Oil PR.
So when Steve Everley posted to the Energy in Depth site about how a study from Stanford’s Mark Jacobson shows that millions of jobs will be lost in the transition to 100% clean energy (when in fact the study shows millions of jobs will be created), no reporter ought to have been fooled by the obviously biased take from an obviously biased source.
Daily Caller’s Michael Bastasch, however, bought it hook line and sinker. Bastasch dutifully recites Everley’s false claim, which study author Jacobson described in a tweet as a “flat out lie.”
We took the apparently too-hard-for-Bastasch step of contacting Dr. Jacobson, who quickly cleared up the issue. Dr. Jacobson said via email:
"The paper is clear that the shift to renewables would create 3.9 million 40-year construction jobs (3.9 million people working 40 years on construction) in addition to nearly 2 million permanent operation jobs. Everley refuses to report the 3.9 million construction jobs as 40 year jobs and refuses to acknowledge that over a 40-year period, there will be a net of 2 million more 40-year jobs.”
Basically, the jobs lost from traditional energy are offset by constructing clean energy infrastructure, and then an additional 2 million jobs will be created in operating the new equipment. But by writing off all of the 40-year jobs as merely “temporary,” Everley misleads readers into thinking it will be a net loss.
Providing employment is an important priority. That said, surely few would bemoan the loss of jobs like Everley’s, in which misrepresenting research masquerades as “education.”
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