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Michael R. Bloomberg

Let’s Hire Laid-Off Oil and Gas Workers to Fight Climate Change

Two tough policy challenges. One elegant solution.

Abandoned wells pose a threat to the environment.

Abandoned wells pose a threat to the environment.

Photographer: Chris Goodney/Bloomberg

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.