Coal miners would be better off transitioning to jobs building solar panels, President Biden‘s special envoy for climate change said Wednesday.
“You look at the consequences of black lung for a miner, for instance, and measure that against the fastest-growing job in the United States before COVID, was solar power technician,” said envoy John Kerry. “The same people can do those jobs, but the choice of doing the solar power one now is a better choice.”
Mr. Kerry, former secretary of state under President Barack Obama, technically has nothing to do with domestic climate policy in the Biden administration. His role is to coordinate with foreign governments on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, slammed Mr. Kerry for hypocrisy.
“John Kerry — who flies in private jets, owned a 76-foot yacht and several mansions — has the carbon footprint of a small nation,” Mr. Cotton tweeted. “Yet he tells energy workers to ‘make solar panels’ when the Biden administration kills their jobs.”
Mr. Kerry also said coal miners could work in the wind-turbine industry.
“The second-fastest-growing job pre-COVID was wind turbine technician,” he said. “This is happening — 75%, 70% of all the electricity that’s come online in the United States in the last few years, came from renewables, not, you know, [from] coal plants [that] have been closing over the last 20 years.”
He said Mr. Biden wants to “make sure those folks have better choices, that they have alternatives, that they could be the people who go to work, to make the solar [panels].”