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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Going Green is for St. Pat's Day, Not Energy Development or Job Creation

Obama's Green Jobs program has failed to create either jobs or energy!

Remember Obama's campaign promise to "create five million 'green' jobs" and "protect our existing manufacturing base" while doing so?

Yeah, I know. Another pie in the sky campaign promise from Obama like so many others that simply turned out to be hot air. But this one also has a downside.

Despite spending billions under Obama's plan (not to mention the billions spent previously for green energy)we haven't seen anything like five million "green" jobs and we haven't seen the energy created by all these supposedly "shovel ready" green energy projects.

Green Jobs KILL Jobs!

Instead of seeing the benefits of new green jobs, two new studies show that green projects actually kill jobs AND make energy more expensive.

Kenneth P. Green, an environmental scientist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise  published: "The Myth of Green Energy Jobs: The European Experience:"
Using Spain as a model, when you do the math, you realize that creating 3 million new green jobs could cost $2.25 trillion" -- nearly a million tax dollars apiece for jobs that are likely to go away as soon as the government subsidies end.

Green programs in Spain destroyed 2.2 jobs for every green job created, while the capital needed for one green job in Italy could create almost five jobs in the general economy.
...
Countries are cutting these programs because they realize they aren't sustainable and they are obscenely expensive.
A second study by the Copenhagen Consensus confirms Kenneth Green's conclusion with these points:
  • Job creation claims rest on unreliable assumptions and fuzzy definitions
  • Any job increase is likely to be outweighed by job destruction elsewhere
  • Other sectors could create more jobs for the same investment
  • Claims of higher productivity and income are not backed up by evidence
Writing at Slate, Bjorn Lomborg summarizes the Copenhagen study this way:

In some cases, Gülen finds that proponents of green jobs have not distinguished between construction jobs (building the wind turbines), which are temporary, and longer-term operational jobs (keeping the wind turbines going), which are more permanent. Moreover, sometimes advocates have assumed, without justification, that the new jobs would pay more than careers in conventional energy. In other cases, the definition of a "green" job is so fuzzy that it becomes virtually useless. If a sustainability adviser quits a concrete factory and goes to work instead for a renewable energy project, can we really conclude that the number of green jobs has actually increased?

More disturbing is Gülen's finding that some claims of job creation have rested on assumptions of green-energy production that go far beyond reputable estimates. Of course, if you assume that vast swaths of the countryside will be covered in wind turbines and solar panels, you will inevitably predict that a large number of construction jobs will be required.

But the biggest problem in these analyses is that they often fail to recognize the higher costs or job losses that these policies will cause. Alternative energy sources such as solar and wind create significantly more expensive fuel and electricity than traditional energy sources. Increasing the cost of electricity and fuel will hurt productivity, reduce overall employment, and cut the amount of disposable income that people have. Yet many studies used by advocates of green jobs have not addressed these costs at all—overlooking both the cost of investment and the price hikes to be faced by end users.
The only people seeing any green from these energy projects are the enviro-investors who have gotten rich convincing government to fund inefficient and otherwise uneconomical projects!

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