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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A global transition is underway from coal to renewable energy, but a corresponding jobs shift is far less certain.

Driving the news: Wind-industry jobs aren’t a “feasible” replacement for local coal-mining jobs in the world’s four biggest coal-producing nations, and although solar is better situated than wind, it would require a massive buildout, a new peer-reviewed report finds.

Why it matters: As the world moves to cleaner kinds of energy, concern is growing about what happens to the people employed in heavy-polluting industries, especially coal. Indeed, such a progression is already rapidly underway in America.

How it works: The report, published last month in the Environmental Research Letters journal, analyzed the wind and solar resources of coal-mining regions in the U.S., China, India and Australia.

  • Noting that most coal miners don’t migrate when they’re laid off, the report sought to answer the question of whether renewable-energy jobs could be created in the same areas where coal is mined.
  • It concluded that it’s just not windy enough in those countries’ coal-mining regions for wind energy to be a viable replacement.
  • Solar was better situated for replacing coal-mining jobs in Australia, India and America, but not in China.

By the numbers... In the U.S.:

  • Nearly two-thirds — 62% — of coal-mining areas are suitable for solar power.
  • To ensure miners in those areas could transition to solar, 143 gigawatts of solar power — or nearly three times America’s current capacity of solar — would be needed.
  • That would mean at least two-thirds of current coal miners could transition to solar-energy jobs — assuming the buildout and necessary retraining — occurs.
  • Wyoming is the only state in the U.S. where wind jobs could be a feasible option for coal miners.

Go deeper: Coal miners being trained to work in alternative energy

Go deeper

Justice Department drops insider trading inquiry against Sen. Richard Burr

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) walking through the Senate Subway in the U.S. Capitol in December 2020. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Department of Justice told Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Tuesday that it will not move forward with insider trading charges against him.

Why it matters: The decision, first reported by the New York Times, effectively ends the DOJ's investigation into the senator's stock sell-off that occurred after multiple lawmakers were briefed about the coronavirus' potential economic toll. Burr subsequently stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Netflix tops 200 million global subscribers

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Netflix said that it added another 8.5 million global subscribers last quarter, bringing its total number of paid subscribers globally to more than 200 million.

The big picture: Positive fourth-quarter results show Netflix's resiliency, despite increased competition and pandemic-related production headwinds.

Janet Yellen plays down debt, tax hike concerns in confirmation hearing

Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen at an event in December. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Janet Yellen, Biden's pick to lead the Treasury Department, pushed back against two key concerns from Republican senators at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday: the country's debt and the incoming administration's plans to eventually raise taxes.

Driving the news: Yellen — who's expected to win confirmation — said spending big now will prevent the U.S. from having to dig out of a deeper hole later. She also said the Biden administration's priority right now is coronavirus relief, not raising taxes.