5 clean energy charts Trump needs to see before he takes office

Donald Trump has promised the American people rising employment, cheap energy, and economic growth. World Resource Institute experts show why clean energy is key to keeping these promises.

trump at phoenix rally
Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona in October 2016. Image: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0

“I love charts! I love charts!” Trump exalted back in August, to a cheering crowd of thousands.

On January 20, Donald Trump will once again stand in front of a crowd, this time being sworn in as the 45thpresident of the United States. During the campaign, Trump assured Americans he would preside over a time of rising employment, a growing economy and cheap, abundant, reliable energy.

Here are five charts that show why clean energy is key to keeping these promises.

Chart 1: The Cost of U.S. Renewable Energy Is Falling

Source: U.S. Department of Energy

Thanks in part to record-setting investment in the sector, the cost of generating clean, emissions-free energy has declined precipitously since 2008. Continued innovation and policy prioritization can ensure that prices decline even further than they are projected.

Chart 2: Solar Energy Alone Provides More Jobs than Oil, Gas and Coal Extraction


Solar energy jobs have skyrocketed, largely due to plummeting prices that have increased U.S. demand. Adding millions of additional jobs in the wind power and energy efficiency sectors, the clean energy industry is one of the most rapidly-growing employers in the United States.

Furthermore, the single fastest-growing occupation in the U.S. is wind turbine service technician, with over 100 percent growth forecast in the next decade.

Chart 3: States Are Cutting Emissions While Boosting Their Economies

Source: Brookings Institution

Across the U.S., states are decoupling energy use and economic growth. Between 2000 and 2014, 33 states saw their economies grow by an average of 22 percent while reducing emissions by 12 percent. This decoupling is particularly prevalent in Northeast and Southern states, where a shift away from coal power has led to a decline in carbon dioxide emissions.

Chart 4: Americans Want More Clean Energy

Source: Conservative Energy Network

Registered voters across the political spectrum support clean energy. A post-election national survey showed that the majority of Americans are strongly in favor of increasing the development and use of clean energy. 

Another post-election survey found that most Americans (including 76 percent of Republicans) say the U.S. should use more renewable energy and fund more research into renewable energy sources.

Chart 5: Businesses Understand and Support Clean Energy

Source: Science Based Targets

Over 200 companies, including Wal-Mart, PepsiCo and General Mills, have committed to carbon emission reductions in line with the latest climate science. What’s more, companies from Google to GM have committed to getting 100 percent of their power from renewable sources, facilitated by collaborative efforts like the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance. One way to ensure that American companies operate in America is by showing that their energy goals can be met domestically.

The president-elect has shown a willingness to alter his views in response to new information. As these charts show, clean energy can help him keep his promises.

Tyler Clevenger is the Outreach and Engagement Intern for the U.S. Climate Initiative. Daniel Melling is the communications specialist for WRI’s Global Energy Program. This post is republished from WRI’s Insights blog.

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