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The data is in: more Green jobs means less real ones

It’s not rocket science. If energy costs more, that means we have to make do with less of it, or make do with less of something else. Thus if the government forces everyone to pay more for electricity, companies have less spare cash to employ people. Their margins are tighter, they can’t make and sell as many products. So when we are told the clean energy revolution is creating jobs, is it virtually self-evident that’s a mythical fairy claim.

I say “virtually”, because it is theoretical possible it could work, but only if this green power provided some productivity or efficiency gain — that is, if it helped us build more widgets, bake more cakes or warm more toes. In the case of windturbines, the big hope is that they reduce emissions, lower CO2 globally, and in turn stop storms, tornados, floods and what-not and gave us perfect weather again (like the kind we never had).

Might as well bury bottles of money I say. More jobs. Less cost. No infrasound, and no dead bats.

Each green job in Britain costs £100,000 (and 3.7 other jobs):

The Telegraph points out how expensive it is to support a wind-industry job. My plan to bury bottles with £50,000 apiece in them could halve the cost and employ just as many people.

(What’s worse than one green job? 76,000 green jobs.)

In Spain for every green job created 2.2 jobs were lost:

“Calzada, an economist, studied Spain’s green technology program and found that each green job created in Spain cost Spanish taxpayers $770,000. Each Wind Industry job cost $1.3 million to create.  But Calzada’s study found that for every four jobs created by Spain’s expensive green technology program, nine jobs were lost. Electricity generated was so expensive that each “green” megawatt installed in the power grid destroyed five jobs elsewhere in the economy by raising business costs. — CBN News, Dec 26, 2011

In Italy, each green job cost 5 jobs from the rest of the economy:

“A study performed by Luciano Lavecchia and Carlo Stagnaro of Italy’s Bruno Leoni Institute found “the same amount of capital that creates one job in the green sector, would create 6.9 or 4.8 if invested in the industry or the economy in general, respectively”…

“The researchers also found that the vast majority of green jobs created were temporary… —  AEI

“The renewables industry was plagued with corruption. The mafia were caught laundering $1.7bn through renewables.

In Germany, the subsidies far exceed the wages of the jobs created:

“Germany’s subsidization regime has reached a level that by far exceeds average wages, with per-worker subsidies as high as 175,000 euros (US$240,000).  — AEI

In Denmark wind power reduces the GDP

Denmark is the darling of wind power, it manages to get about 10% of its energy from wind, but only because all the countries around it absorb the intermittent surplus, and compensate for the low generation periods. Even with this ideal arrangement, it still costs millions:

Regarding green jobs, CEPOS 2009 found “that the effect of the government subsidy has been to shift employment from more productive employment in other sectors to less productive employment in the wind industry. As a consequence, Danish GDP is approximately 1.8 billion DKK ($270 million) lower than it would have been if the wind sector work force was employed elsewhere.” —  AEI

There were pages claiming to debunk some of these studies. They had the usual blanket vague conviction “it’s proven unsupportable”, but were backed mostly with ad homs — evidently if the study was “promoted” (meaning “quoted”) by people who were known skeptics, that showed it was wrong. What I could not find were any “debunkings” which could explain how a nation using less efficient and more costly energy could make itself richer, more productive, and more able to create useful employment.

Frédéric Bastiat wrote of the “broken-window” fallacy in 1850, and yet people still don’t get it.

Damaging productive things can not make us wealthier.

Nor can forcing us to use the dumber option.


Gabriel Calzada Alvarez, Raquel Merino Jara, Juan Ramon Rallo Julian, and Jose Ignacio Garcia Bielsa, “Study of the Effects of Employment of Public Aid to Renewable Energy Sources” (draft, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, March 2009), www.juandemariana.org/pdf/090327-employment-public-aid-renewable.pdf (accessed January 27, 2011).

Luciano Lavecchia and Carlo Stagnaro, Are Green Jobs Real Jobs? The Case of Italy (Milan, Italy: Instituto Bruno Leoni, May 2010), http://brunoleonimedia.servingfreedom.net /WP/WP-Green_Jobs-May2010.pdf (accessed January 27, 2011)

CEPOS 2009: Hugh Sharman, Henrik Meyer, and Martin Agerup, Wind Energy: The Case of Denmark (Copenhagen, Denmark: Center for Politiske Studier, September 2009), www.cepos.dk /fileadmin/user_upload/Arkiv/PDF/Wind_energy_-_the_ case_of_Denmark.pdf (accessed January 28, 2011).

VERSO 2011:  Richard Marsh and Tom Miers, Worth the Candle? The Economic Impact of Renewable Energy Policy in Scotland and the UK (Kirkcaldy, Scotland: Verso Economics, March 2011), www.versoeconomics.com/verso-0311B.pdf (accessed March 17, 2011)


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