Nancy Pelosi, speaking in Copenhagen before taking an early flight home to beat a blizzard bearing down on Washington, spoke of the need to pass the utter abortion that is the Waxman Markey climate change legislation, stating "Our legislation will create millions of clean energy jobs for Americans, . . ." This is her common refrain as she attempts to support by repeition what cannot be supported by fact.
The idea that "green jobs" is the wave of the future is a proven canard. Where that idea has already been embraced, in Spain, and to a lesser extent, in Germany, it has been a significant economic drain. This today from Ronald Bailey in Reason Magazine, highlighting Germany's experience:
. . . 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.
Yet green energy proponents have produced reams of studies that show that carbon rationing leads to more jobs. For example, Bracken Hendricks, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, told The New York Times, “We found that you get four times the number of jobs from investing in efficiency and renewables than you get from investing in oil and natural gas.” This is largely because renewable technologies “are more local and they’re more labor-intensive.” . . .
Other countries have tried to use energy policy to produce jobs. Germany is often cited as an example of how government policy can drive the adoption of renewable energy and produce scads of green jobs. For example, in his opening statement at a May 2009 climate change hearing, Sen. Kerry praised Germany for putting “in place strong policy mechanisms to drive investment in solar power and other renewable energy sources. As a result, renewable energy usage has tripled to 16 percent, creating 1.7 million jobs. By 2020, Germany's clean energy sector will be the biggest contributor to the nation's economy.”
However, 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. . . .
Read the entire article. This comports with the experience of Spain where a study found that "[e]very “green job” created with government money in Spain over the last eight years came at the cost of 2.2 regular jobs, and only one in 10 of the newly created green jobs became a permanent job." In short, the canrd of "green jobs" is yet another massive market distortion proposed by the far left that will do grave damage to our country and to the rank and file of America. It is being sold by Pelosi as a pancea for job creation. The reality is that it is another push by the left to cripple capitalism and establish socialism on a grand scale in America.