About Those New Green Energy Jobs

When global warming fanatics are not warning of the imminent demise of our planet if we do not shift to renewable green energy, politicians and manufactures of green energy equipment are busily touting the millions of jobs that could be created.

If we continue subsidizing green energy equipment.

Via Crain’s Detroit:

Feed-in tariffs are intended to push development of a renewable energy industry. The boost to the consumer market draws in manufacturers, and that in turn draws in suppliers, proponents argue.

That clustering effect is why “game-changing” incentives for Michigan consumers are needed, Stephanie Burns, CEO of Dow Corning Corp., said during an October speech in Detroit. Incentives to attract solar businesses themselves, such as tax breaks, are not enough, she said.

U.S. global solar market share has dropped from 45 percent to 7 percent in 12 years, and “the world’s solar industry players consider the U.S. an emerging market,” Burns said.

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The potential for job growth is explosive, said Mary Lou Benecke, Dow Corning’s vice president of public affairs. In the countries where Hemlock’s polycrystalline silicon ends up, employees are put to work getting the in-demand material into production.

Using the government subsidy model, politicians pander while corporations soak up subsides to implement their green energy schemes. Afterward, “we the people” are stuck with the bill in the form of higher taxes, higher electricity costs and higher unemployment.

One of the most famous studies of green energy performed in Spain shows that for every one heavily subsidized ‘green energy’ job created cost the private sector 2.2 actual jobs. The interesting thing is this will happen every time. Subsidizing anything, particularly something as economically fundamental as energy production, is a recipe for economic disaster.

As explained in, Chasing Rainbows by Tim Worstall, an Adam Smith Institute Fellow, the idea of creating additional jobs to replace energy that we now produce is an economic folly and counterproductive.

Via Chasing Rainbows:

Green technologies also seem to provide plenty of jobs. Exploiting renewables now employs 2.3 million people worldwide, more than the entire oil and gas industries, even though they contribute a small fraction of the amount of energy. They provide several times as much work per dollar invested than fossil fuels, with other green measures like recycling and saving energy proving even more job-intensive.

Geoffrey Lean, Daily Telegraph

That’s the sort of drivel that produces conniption fits in economists. For as every purveyor of the dismal science will point out, jobs are a cost of a plan, not a benefit. We are thus attempting to make everything that we do less job intensive, not more so. To welcome something as requiring more effort to achieve than another method of getting to the same end is nonsensical. To argue that using the labour of 2.3 million people to produce energy is a better idea than using the labour of 1 million, or three people, or 2.1 million or any other number lower than 2.3 million, is simply to be ignorant of the basic defining desire of all human beings: to get the most we can for the least effort.

This is only one of the gross misunderstandings of the real world that the various greens, Greens and environmentalists fall prey to. This book is about many of those misunderstandings: an attempt to point out where the courses of action proposed for us by those who would make the world better are diametrically opposed to the actual courses of action which would do so. A look at where the things we are told we should be doing are completely different from the things we should actually be doing in order to get to the desired goal. That goal, one I assume we all share, being a cleaner, richer, better in short, world for us and our descendants.

The idea that we are going to replace existing, efficient, reliable low-cost power with something that is less reliable, less efficient and more expensive is absurd.

As I have said before, only wealthy countries can afford to worry about the environment. Why do something that is going to make us poorer?

Comments
  • fleeceme December 5, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Excellent stuff. =)

    I love the quote from the book. It makes sense (the ineffeciency of using more jobs to accomplish the same thing), which explains a lot of why progressives are so excited about doing the exact opposite.

    • steve December 5, 2010 at 7:38 pm

      Thanks,

      The way Tim Worstall explains the economics behind the ‘green energy’ myth is excellent.

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