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Environmental Equity Clashes with Gender Equality

One of the left’s key selling points for the Green New Deal—or is it one of the key distractions?—is that the GND will combat economic, social and racial inequality. However, a recent report casts doubt on at least one portion of that goal.

Here’s how the Sustainability Institute describes the Green New Deal, which it supports, as proposed by Democrats Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Edward J. Markey:

“The key focus areas of the Green New Deal were around decarbonizing the economy through the phasing out of fossil fuels and transitioning to 100% renewable energy. The resolution also aimed to fix societal issues such as economic inequality, poverty and racial injustice.”

Historically, the energy industry has been dominated by males, which is understandable, especially since a lot of the work performed at drilling sites, pipeline construction sites and even refineries is hard and dirty physical labor.

But one might expect, given the GND rhetoric, that the effort to expand renewable energy sources—primarily wind turbines and solar panels—would see a much higher participation rate by women. However, apparently the female participation rate is even worse in the renewable energy sector.

As Canary Media, a media outlet that covers the transition to renewables, reports: “A staggering 70% of the U.S. workforce for wind and solar electricity generation is male—even worse than the gender gap in coal and gas power generation.” See the chart.

To be sure, the gap isn’t much worse. But then the fossil fuel industry never promised to reduce racial, social and gender inequality, which is exactly what the Green New Dealers claim.

Yet while it was never a stated goal, the fossil fuel industry has done more than most industries in reducing income inequality, because it is a very high-paying industry, especially for blue-collar workers.

And it isn’t just the U.S. renewables industry that’s lagging. Citing a 2019 report from the International Renewable Energy Agency, Canary Media says, “Only 32% of the global renewable energy workforce was female in 2018. Women were especially underrepresented in renewables jobs related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), holding only 28 percent of those roles.”

As the left and President Biden continue to press for Green New Deal expansion as a solution to many of the country’s social and economic inequality challenges, we need to highlight its current failures to live up to its promises. And ask why anyone should believe its future promises.