Study: “Green” initiatives actually costing more jobs than they create

Posted by: ST on February 28, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Bad news for the AGW crowd – from the BBC (via Memeorandum):

Government support for the renewable sector in Scotland is costing more jobs than it creates, a report has claimed.

A study by consultants Verso Economics found there was a negative impact from the policy to promote the industry.

It said 3.7 jobs were lost for every one created in the UK as a whole and that political leaders needed to engage in “honest debate” about the issue.

The Scottish government called the study “misleading” and said 60,000 jobs could be created by the sector by 2020.

The report, called Worth the Candle? The economic impact of renewable energy policy in Scotland and the UK, said the industry in Scotland benefited from an annual transfer of about £330m from taxpayers and consumers elsewhere in the UK.

It said politicians needed to recognise the economic and environmental costs of support for the sector and focus more on the scientific and technical issues that arose.

Richard Marsh, research director of Verso Economics and co-author of the report, said: “There’s a big emphasis in Scotland on the economic opportunity of investing in renewable energy.

“Whatever the environmental merits, we have shown that the case for green jobs just doesn’t stack up.”

Co-author Tom Miers added: “The Scottish renewables sector is very reliant on subsidies from the rest of the UK.

“Without this UK-wide framework, it would be very difficult to sustain the main policy tools used to promote this industry.”

But this is just one study, right – and only for one country. Has to be a one off – right? Wrong. AmSpec’s Chris Horner notes that the UK isn’t the only country in the EU where green jobs studies were conducted … with results that were similar to the UK study:

Green jobs are ‘census’ jobs in that they are temporary jobs that disappear as soon as the political will to continue the wealth transfers from Peter to Paul, the Ponzi-style scheme, running. So ‘opportunity cost’ calculations on jobs lost are inherently understated.

We’ve got a new entrant today.

As has been well publicized, Spain lost 2.2 jobs lost per ‘green jobs’ created.

Italy lost 4.8 jobs per ‘created’ job (story here, study here).

Germany and Denmark have had similar experiences.

Could the results of the Spanish study be a sign of things to come here in the US?

March 27 [2009] (Bloomberg) — Subsidizing renewable energy in the U.S. may destroy two jobs for every one created if Spain’s experience with windmills and solar farms is any guide.

For every new position that depends on energy price supports, at least 2.2 jobs in other industries will disappear, according to a study from King Juan Carlos University in Madrid.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2010 budget proposal contains about $20 billion in tax incentives for clean-energy programs. In Spain, where wind turbines provided 11 percent of power demand last year, generators earn rates as much as 11 times more for renewable energy compared with burning fossil fuels.

The premiums paid for solar, biomass, wave and wind power – – which are charged to consumers in their bills — translated into a $774,000 cost for each Spanish “green job” created since 2000, said Gabriel Calzada, an economics professor at the university and author of the report.

“The loss of jobs could be greater if you account for the amount of lost industry that moves out of the country due to higher energy prices,” he said in an interview.

President Obama has held up Spain’s renewable energy efforts as a role model for the US.

Heritage did an excellent report on so-called “green jobs” a year ago that poked a lot of holes in the “green initiatives will grow the economy” arguments:

Can Green Jobs Reduce Unemployment?

Not when they require significant government assistance. When the President and Congress talk about green jobs, they are talking about ones created via federal tax breaks, subsidies, or outright mandates. For example, wind- and solar-generated electricity already enjoys subsidies nearly 50 times higher per unit of energy output than ordinary coal and 100 times higher than natural gas.

Green-job subsidies siphon resources and jobs away from other parts of the economy. A study of alternative energy in Spain estimates that the cost of such subsidies for wind and solar prevents 2.2 such private-sector jobs for each green job created.

Mandates (such as those in place requiring the use of ethanol in gasoline and proposed ones to set federal renewable electricity standards) kill jobs by raising energy costs. The only reason these alternative energy sources need to be mandated in the first place is that they are too expensive to compete otherwise. Thus, in addition to forcibly supplanting traditional energy jobs, renewable energy mandates raise energy costs and thus destroy jobs, especially in energy-intensive manufacturing.

President Obama has done many media events at wind turbine factories, boasting about the green jobs at each. However, for every federally created green job seen, there are unseen jobs that are destroyed.

What Has the Experience with Green Jobs Shown?

Before the U.S. expands its green jobs agenda, a look at the experiences of those nations that have already gone further down that road would be instructive.

As mentioned, Spain has likely destroyed more jobs than it has created with its extensive subsidies for wind and solar. Its unemployment rate, nearly 19 percent, is double that of the U.S. and does not suggest that green jobs can create prosperity. In Denmark, each wind energy job has cost $90,000 to $140,000 in subsidies, which is more than the jobs pay. In Germany, the figure is as high as $240,000. And the experience in Spain, Denmark, and Germany is that most of the green jobs created are temporary ones.

The global experience–that market interventions increase green employment but hurt the overall economy–may also apply in California. California stands out among the states as moving more aggressively in imposing a green economy. It also has unemployment considerably higher than the national average. Although several factors play a part in California’s economic problems, its environmental and energy policy–global warming measures, alternative energy mandates, other regulations that raise conventional energy prices–are likely part of the reason for the state’s overall economic malaise.

To a large extent, the green jobs agenda represents the Europeanization and the Californiazation of the American Economy. That is bad news for job growth.

Too bad the administration isn’t listening, but then again, we’re talking about “global warming is man-made!!!” True Believers and other diehard AGW radicals in this administration and – as per the norm, they never let the facts get in the way shoving their extremist anti-capitalistic pro-centralized government agenda down everyone’s throats.   For the Greater Good™, of course …

Phineas butts in: The Telegraph’s James Delingpole (always worth reading) has an article related to this: The Real Cost of Global Warming.

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11 Responses to “Study: “Green” initiatives actually costing more jobs than they create”


  1. Neo says:

    It’s interesting a Moody’s Analytics study is being quoted to suggest the U.S. House Republican plan to cut $61 billion in borrowing and spending this year would destroy 700,000 jobs over two years.

    And yet the same Moody’s study, authored by Mark Zandi, one of the architects of President Obama’s 2009 “stimulus,” says the Democrats will have to cut $400 billion a year if the economy is ever to stabilize.

    So, it seems, the Republicans aren’t doing nearly enough. They should be cutting $400 billion in spending and let the private sector reorganize in a reality-based economy.

  2. Carlos says:

    A couple of observations: the first has to do with the baseline loss of jobs due to a “green” economic push. Well, duh! Only unicorn herders and pigsty rollers would or could ever believe switching to “green” at this time could EVER create more jobs than are lost for various economic reality reasons.

    And still Obhammud dithers around shaking his fist and pointing his bony little professorial finger while preventing our country (obviously not HIS) from becoming oil independent.

    And the second is a repetition of what many have been saying for years: even if a new, magical source of power became available TODAY, it would take a minimum of ten years, probably closer to twenty years for that magical new source of power to be used in the existing transportation system. What’re the “small” people to do in the meantime, Mr. Glorious-in-Chief? Push their cars by hand? And will foodstuffs and all the niceties transported by big rigs suddenly be able to appear magically in the marketplaces without diesel? I don’t think so, but you being a graduated affirmative action student and affirmative action graduate student, and being a current affirmative action (poor performance) CEO of a major world power, maybe we can still end up as just a second-rate country instead of the third-world slum you are trying to make us. What a maroon.

  3. Neo says:

    Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat. Thirty years ago everybody knew if only Israel would recognize a Palestinian state, we would have peace in the Middle East. Ten years ago everybody knew that all Climate Change was due to man made CO2. Three years ago everybody knew that America would be post racial if only we had a Black President, and a year ago everybody knew that Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats would control the House for a generation.
    Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.

  4. green is the new red in accounting. if you want your business in the red, go green.

  5. Kate says:

    Once again, we will have to necessarily pay more for energy…get it? That’s what our fearless leader has promised. Reality be damned.

    My question, how long will it take for all these countries to recover from the economic mess going green has produced? We have a vein of shale under us here in PA that the politicians in Harrisburg have done nothing with, but try to figure out how they can tax it! Consumers be damned!

  6. Bob G says:

    Apostasy! Trying to say the road to salvation is not with bullet trains to nowhere, heavily tax-payer subsidized green jobs making heavily tax-payer subsidized products we don’t want without tax-payer subsidies is really wrong. Then trying to bring in facts to support your position. Have you no shame?

    You can’t remold American society in your visionary image by using facts and logic.

    Good summary of the lack of success of the green initiatives.

  7. PE says:

    Our green movement is powered by hordes of incipient commisars. They believe that economic disaster is a small price to pay for gaining their stupid version of paradise. They are addicted to their beliefs and therefore we must suffer.

  8. Carlos says:

    @PE: “They believe that economic disaster is a small price to pay for gaining their stupid version of paradise. They are addicted to their beliefs and therefore we must suffer.”

    Actually, PE, their vision isn’t that we must all suffer, it’s that they, because of their superior intelligence and wisdom, are uniquely qualified to live the good life while we, the knuckle-dragging rabble have to supply all those things necessary for that good life while enduring the hardships equated with prehistoric life.

    And there are enough fools around to believe the arrogancia will let them enjoy some of it, too, if only we less-than-humans allow them to get it all ready for us…

  9. PE says:


    You provide food for thought. Based on your comments, it may be that our incipient commisars are really striving to become aristocrats. Hope there are enough of us around to keep them from realizing their full potential.

  10. Carlos says:

    Actually, PE, becoming “aristocrats” is the farthest thing from their plans. What they really want is that everyone is equal, but the pigs are more equal than all the others.

    I’m sure Mr. Soros considers himself much more equal than just about anyone else in the world, and his present-day boy-wonder affirmative action gofer is just about as full of that hubris as is Georgie-boy.

    My, that does sound like something written and read long ago…