PLAINS, Ga. (AP) — Former President Jimmy Carter said Wednesday millions of jobs could be created in the United States if President Donald Trump embraced renewable energy sources such as geothermal, solar and wind power.
Carter, a Democrat who was the first U.S. president to install solar panels at the White House, said he hoped the Republican Trump would give it “deep consideration.”
“Sometimes there’s a philosophical objection to this by some — I’ll say right-wing Republicans — but he has a high priority of job creation,” Carter said in an interview with The Associated Press. “If they just remember the tremendous potential of creating millions of jobs in America just from renewable energy sources, that would be a very good counter-argument to those who oppose the concept of global warming being caused by human activity.”
Trump has sent mixed signals on whether he will try to slow Earth’s warming temperatures and rising sea levels. During the transition, Trump met with prominent climate activists Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio, but he has also appointed oil industry champions who want to reverse President Barack Obama’s efforts to rein in emissions.
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The vast majority of peer-reviewed studies and climate scientists agree the planet is warming, mostly due to man-made sources. Under Obama, the U.S. dramatically ramped up production of renewable energy from sources such as solar, in part through Energy Department grants.
Carter, a former peanut farmer from southwest Georgia, on Wednesday celebrated the installation of solar panels on 10 acres of farmland he owns in Plains, where he and former first lady Rosalynn Carter grew up and still have a home.
Carter, who is 92, leased the land to Atlanta-based SolAmerica Energy, which owns, operates, and sells power generated from solar cells. The company estimates the project will provide more than half of the power needed in the town of 755 people.
“It shows what a small town can do, what one farmer can do,” said Carter. “It’s also a very good source of income for farmers who can get as much as $500 per acre per year by allocating some of their land to solar panels.”