Ron Bailey at Reason:

Ron Bailey, science correspondent for Reason

Given the array of government energy mandates and billions in subsidies poured into cleantech, there is no doubt that those sectors will see increased jobs. The effect on overall employment is far less clear. Cleantech energy is currently more expensive than conventional sources of energy. Many argue that the price difference simply reflects the fact that conventional sources—chiefly fossil fuels—are cheaper because no one is being forced to pay for their externalities, e.g., damaging the climate and health. Once people have to pay for their externalities through, say, a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade scheme, then renewable energy sources become more competitive. Fair enough. But either way, the price of energy is going to go up. If people and businesses are paying more for energy that means that they have less left over to buy other products and services, a fact that would tend to reduce employment downstream.

…. a study released in October finds that the German green job miracle is largely a mirage, and an expensive mirage at that. The report, published by the nonprofit German think tank Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI), notes that as a result of the German government’s energy policies, Germany leads the world in solar panel installation and is second only to the U.S. in wind power generation. Great, right? Actually terrible, says the report. Let me quote some of the report’s sobering conclusions at length:

While employment projections in the renewable sector convey seemingly impressive prospects for gross job growth, they typically obscure the broader implications for economic welfare by omitting any accounting of off-setting impacts. These impacts include, but are not limited to, job losses from crowding out of cheaper forms of conventional energy generation, indirect impacts on upstream industries, additional job losses from the drain on economic activity precipitated by higher electricity prices, private consumers’ overall loss of purchasing power due to higher electricity prices, and diverting funds from other, possibly more beneficial investment.

Proponents of renewable energies often regard the requirement for more workers to produce a given amount of energy as a benefit, failing to recognize that this lowers the output potential of the economy and is hence counterproductive to net job creation. Significant research shows that initial employment benefits from renewable policies soon turn negative as additional costs are incurred. Trade and other assumptions in those studies claiming positive employment turn out to be unsupportable.

In the end, Germany’s PV promotion has become a subsidization regime that, on a per-worker basis, has reached a level that far exceeds average wages, with per worker subsidies as high as 175,000 € (US $ 240,000). …

Although Germany’s promotion of renewable energies is commonly portrayed in the media as setting a “shining example in providing a harvest for the world” (The Guardian 2007), we would instead regard the country’s experience as a cautionary tale of massively expensive environmental and energy policy that is devoid of economic and environmental benefits.

Despite the fondest hopes of Kerry, Pelosi, Markey, and other Democrats in Congress, carbon rationing has not noticeably sparked a technological revolution in Europe yet. One might argue that a cleantech takeoff is just around the corner and that the energy revolution is just at the same stage as the Internet revolution was in 1991. Maybe. But the Internet analogy deployed by Kerry and co. misses the mark in another way—the Internet and cell phone boom took off as a result of deregulation and was largely financed by private capital. By contrast, the Capitol Hill denizens now haunting the Copenhagen conference imagine they can spark a similar technological revolution by passing a massive 1,400-page bill, laden with subsidies, tax breaks, and fine-grained regulations for all aspects of energy production.

Well, of course.!

Even the most shallow investigation into the voting records of Kerry, Pelosi, Markey, and the other Neo-Socialists in Congress, will show they have always leaned toward government as the solution to all man’s problems, even if government is the proximate cause of those problems. The reason is simple; This is not about growing jobs, or going green, this is about nothing more than the increase of government… something the left has always desired and worked toward.

I have said it for years, now; the worst thing you can possibly offer a leftist, is an actual solution to a problem.  If you actually solve the problem, you have removed the incentive for granting government (And one assumes the liberals in said government) ever increasing power.  Given the history of the thing it seems to me eminently reasonable to make the assumption that when a leftist speaks, his real cause… regardless of the stated cause…. is the increase in the power of a central government , and go on from there.  . Until we face that situation head on, we’re always going to have these discussions about the validity of leftist policy.

7 Responses to “The “Green Jobs” Fantasy”

  1. The democrats are not hoping for more technological inovation; just the opposite in fact.

    Even the growth of government is just a means to their end.

  2. Might I suggest that fantasy is not the most apt word.    Watching Gone with the Wind and imagining yourself to be either Rhett Butler or Scarlet O’Hara is merely a fantasy.   What the warm monger watermelons are talking about as green jobs are better described as delusions.

    A sane man is allowed to have fantasies.   What the water melons have are delusions. 


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