Election day is coming up, and plans for energy is one of the more polarizing issues between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
In this clip from Industry Focus: Energy, Sean O'Reilly and Taylor Muckerman break down Trump's energy platform -- relaxing regulations and forgoing renewables in favor of fossil fuels -- and talk about what it would mean for the worldwide energy market if they went through.
Tune in next week for an analysis of Hillary's platform.
A full transcript follows the video.
This podcast was recorded on Aug. 11, 2016.
Sean O'Reilly: We're going to take a look at Trump's energy platform. We're going to ignore candidate preferences and we'll just be talking about the pros and cons of their stated energy policies, as found on their websites, I guess, or speeches. We'll be giving, for our listeners here, who are curious, Hillary's plan a closer look next week on the episode Energy. If you'd be so kind, Mr. Muckerman, run us down what Trump thinks America should do with its energy policy.
Taylor Muckerman: It's to cut regulations massively. That's his word, "massively," twice. Also, basically forgoing renewable energy in favor of fossil fuels, calling it the policy of the future. Which makes me scratch my head when you talk about fossil fuels and coal, in favor of renewable energy. I think renewable energy is going to have a much longer future than, say, coal or oil.
O'Reilly: You're not being mean to any of our listeners that work in coal country, or in the oil industry, or whatever, but the planet Earth has, like, 30, 40, 50 years of oil left, for all our needs and everything. Then what do we do? Is that ...
Muckerman: You can continue to get more efficient.
O'Reilly: Technological advances. Yes, but ...
Muckerman: You can continue to extract more oil and natural gas and coal out of the ground. When you talk about coal losing jobs, coal losing demand, it's not an American problem, it's a global problem. I don't know if it's, you call it a problem if you're in the industry. Everyone else, I think, looks at it as progress. It's not just because regulation is cutting coal jobs. If you look at it, miners are becoming much more efficient. Go back to, let's say, let's pick a date, 1975, annual production per miner was ...
O'Reilly: Couple of tons, what?
Muckerman: It's a quarter of what it is now. Mining has got that much more efficient. Naturally, jobs are going to decline if you're upping your production per unit. You're looking at peak U.S. coal production, basically, in 2006. It's been declining ever since then. Miners have been getting more efficient. In terms of employment, basically seeing peak coal employment in the '80s. You've been losing jobs for the last 30 some-odd years. It's not just regulation.
O'Reilly: Now they're losing stuff on the demand side, because you've got China literally shuttering all their coal, electricity plants. They're trying to ...
Muckerman: Europe is waning on terms of coal demand. United States is waning in terms of coal demand. It's, sometimes Trump, Donald Trump, tries to put things into a basket of just America. It's America's problem. Coal and oil are globally traded. Yes, you might be able to help boost some jobs. I don't think you're ever, ever, ever going to re-create the jobs that were once in the coal industry. It's just not going to happen.
O'Reilly: Right. Is there anything else that he talked about with his plan?
Muckerman: Basically, just cutting regulations.
O'Reilly: Is that literally closing the EPA? What does that mean?
Muckerman: I think it would be on the table. I don't know. At least in terms of anybody trying to crack down on oil and gas and coal. I don't think he's ever outright said that. Just in terms of his focus on cutting regulation, that would have to be, you might gain some coal jobs, but you might lose some EPA jobs.
O'Reilly: Right. Got it. Or some natural gas jobs.
Muckerman: Yes, or some natural gas jobs. Then, if you look at the growth in renewable jobs, if you try to put a bottleneck on that, I don't know if you're even going to net out to positive job growth from his energy plan. The industry itself, in coal, just isn't going to support it, whereas, if you focus more on renewable energy, you're going to have all those engineers from that industry that could possibly go work in the renewable-energy industry. It might not be a seamless transition, but those jobs are going to be available.
O'Reilly: What about something that we currently still definitely need, which is oil. Do you think the oil industry would love all this stuff?
Muckerman: You know, maybe if he cuts down on the measures that require you on emissions or things like that while you're drilling. Flaring, for instance. Excess gas that you're producing at the well site. A president's only around for four years, generally. Yes, he could go for eight. These energy companies, I don't, they've already been focusing so intently on cutting emissions and becoming more efficient, that I don't think one president's going to cause them to completely reverse course because things could change in a second.
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