End the duopoly

Let’s hire laid-off oil and gas workers to fight climate change

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As Congress debates how to address the economic calamity we are facing, we have an unprecedented opportunity to put people to work addressing the climate crisis — and we should start by hiring laid-off oil and gas workers to help lead the way.

The fact is, the U.S. oil and gas sector was in trouble even before the pandemic struck. Last year more than three dozen producers declared bankruptcy, hobbled by declining energy prices and rising debt. The pace of filings has quickened with the spread of the coronavirus, and even after the virus threat subsides — which is unlikely to be anytime soon — cheap renewables will drive more firms under.

This turmoil has hurt oil and gas workers — some 100,000 have been laid off this year alone — and communities that depend on fossil fuel extraction are suffering. The bankruptcies have also left scars on the environment, in the form of abandoned oil and gas wells. Some 3 million such sites are scattered across the country, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, and most are leaking copious amounts of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. 300×250 image ad But the U.S. could meet both challenges in one stroke — […]

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