Green Jobs: The Road to Ruin


As a certain frog once observed, it ain’t easy being green. It’s not profitable either, but as environmentalists and their supporters in government retool their message they dearly want us to believe that a “green economy” will fill everyone’s pockets with greenbacks. Recent experience, not to mention common sense, shows that this is nonsense. Nonetheless, the Obama administration, environmental groups and many media mainstream media outlets are pushing “green jobs” and a “green economy” as ways to simultaneously solve America’s economic woes while avoiding any possible harm to the environment.

At a Chicago City Club luncheon a few weeks ago, an official with the Chicago Department of the Environment was introduced to the crowd. She waved happily and dutifully parroted the environmental movement’s latest slogan:

“What’s good for the environment is good for the economy!”

And we have this: Al Gore wants to “repower America!” Warming to the theme, the President of the United States would have America believe that green jobs and green power will not only put money in your pocket, they are the wave of the future. China’s doing it, the president says, do we want to be left behind?

Except that China’s not doing it. They’re paying lip service to “green power” as they happily build big coal-fired power plants at the rate of one per week, because it’s pretty obvious to the Chinese that cheap power is better for their economy than politically-correct power.

The purported nirvana of a green economy is the predictable response to “Climategate,” “Glaciergate,” “Amazongate” and all the rest of the revelations that have caused the public to doubt that our planet actually needs saving. If the science isn’t really settled and has in fact been manipulated for the sake of an agenda (climategate) is there really an environmental crisis to worry about? If glaciers aren’t going to melt in the next twenty five years (glaciergate) can the International Panel on Climate Change be trusted? If the rainforests are doing just fine, thank you (amazongate) is the situation as bad as global warming alarmists have led us to believe? It’s 2010 and panic just isn’t selling as well as it did five years ago. Accordingly, the global warming crowd is rebranding their product, saying in essence that even if you don’t believe in “climate change” it still makes sense to go green, because doing so will make everyone more wealthy along the way.

Arguably, no western nation has done more to go green than Spain. Indeed, President Obama has pointed toward Spain as the model of the sort of economy that the United States should aspire to create, one that relies heavily on renewable fuels for power. But, how has that worked out for Spain? In the midst of a worldwide recession, the Spanish economy stands out, because it is in worse shape than most, with unemployment hovering at around twenty per cent. According to a study conducted by Dr. Gabriel Calzada, an economics professor at Juan Carlos University in Madrid, the push to “go green” has been responsible for much of Spain’s recent economic woes. Calzada concluded that every green job created in Spain cost 2.2 traditional jobs. A green economy, it would seem, is hardly a formula for prosperity.

But one shouldn’t need the Spanish experience to realize that a green economy is inevitably a red ink economy. Common sense is all that is necessary. Wind power, the most popular form of renewable power, is fifty per cent to one hundred per cent more expensive than coal-fired power. Why? Because the people who develop wind farms have to pay off the banks notes for building all of those expensive windmills, shell out cash for operating and maintenance costs and fund the not inconsiderable costs of the infrastructure required to hook the windmills up to the grid. Add in the fact that you still have to back up wind farms with conventional forms of energy, like gas turbines, and wind power is inevitably more expensive than burning coal or natural gas. But for government subsidies and incentive programs, no one would be stupid enough to build a single windmill.

The same may be said of solar power, which is, by nature, horrendously expensive and inefficient, as well as biofuels, which often consume more energy than they produce, and a host of other green, renewable schemes to repower America in shades of green. There’s a reason that we need legislation to create a green economy: There is no free market, economic incentive to otherwise do so.

It’s worth noting that I myself have held what may be termed a “green job” for over twenty five years. Without environmental legislation, I would have had to pursue a career doing something that was actually productive. As it happened, I have spent my professional life poring over EPA regulations, pushing through the piles of paperwork that the regulatory system demands on behalf of my clients and carefully studying the latest environmental research. The only reason that a job like mine exists is that America has built a regulatory structure to protect the environment that is so enormously complex and impossible to understand that specialists are needed to figure out what the heck the average business person has to do in order to avoid the wrath of the EPA.

The worst part of this state of affairs is that, by and large, it’s not the big, bad corporations that require the services of people like me. Big power companies, oil refiners, etc. can afford their own specialists whom can lead those large corporations through the regulatory maze. Instead, it’s the small companies – those whom can least afford it – that are forced to look for outside help. They can’t afford their own dedicated environmental professionals, thus they are forced to fork over cash that they could have otherwise been using to improve their businesses and create jobs in order to retain expert consultants that can keep aggressive regulators at bay.

Leftists like Obama find nothing troubling in the green jobs paradigm, whether it means building expensive windmills or forcing small business to pay for specialists who keep the creeping hand of the bureaucracy at arm’s length. To liberals, the economy is a zero-sum game, so what could be wrong about redistributing billions of dollars? For those of us who believe that wealth is created, rather than something that exists in the abstract sense, the idea of a green economy is something far more sinister. If implemented, these green schemes won’t create wealth, they will instead sap America’s riches and we will all be the poorer for it.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/eerieSteve eerieSteve

    Real problems exist across all sectors if this passes in a production environment. New government red tape means higher costing products for everyone. The rich get more established and the poor get more centralized.

    For example, let's say you wanted to leave a global light bulb maker to start your own steel supplier. Word gets out you are ruffling the feathers of the elite, and already the deck stacks itself against you in higher priced more regulated machinery, EPA regulators, bureaucratic red tape, and more expensive raw materials. I guess the new game Obama wants to play is Get Mine or Be Mine.

  • cedarhill

    Some are now writing about "energy density" as the proper measure. For example, how many acres does it take to produce the equivalent power of one pound of uranium? The math is so simple even a talking cave man like Joe Biden could do it.

    • K. Bond

      It's all BUNK! The whole GREEN movement, and CLIMATE SHAM.

      Every right minded person needs to read Michael Crichton's book STATE OF FEAR from 2004! Although the book is fiction, Michael (as always) does his homework to make any of his books TECHNICALLY ACCURATE. This one is no exception. (He has 35 pages of bibliographies!) I invite all of you to go directly to Appendix 1 in the back of the book. This is where he opens up to his readers and tells what HE thinks. It will awaken any open-minded person.

      If only he were alive today, we could all tell him "BOY MIKE, YOU HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD WITH THIS ONE, and you knew this 6 years ago!~."

      In short, he describes how the entire GREEN push is a vicious cycle and is completely falsely fabricated.

      Check it out, and thank me very much.

  • K. Bond

    Every right minded person needs to read Michael Crichton's book STATE OF FEAR from 2004! Although the book is fiction, Michael (as always) does his homework to make any of his books TECHNICALLY ACCURATE. This one is no exception. (He has 35 pages of bibliographies!) I invite all of you to go directly to Appendix 1 in the back of the book. This is where he opens up to his readers and tells what HE thinks. It will awaken any open-minded person.

    If only he were alive today, we could all tell him "BOY MIKE, YOU HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD WITH THIS ONE, and you knew this 6 years ago!~."

    In short, he describes how the entire GREEN push is a vicious cycle and is completely falsely fabricated.

    Check it out, and thank me very much.

  • owyheewine

    The secret of green energy is finding a economical way to store energy produced from wind or solar sources, efficiently and cheaply. Sort of like fossil fuels, nature's store of solar energy. oops!

  • Jim

    I worked as a planner in Fairfax County. "Green jobs" were accounted for by counting existing staff and private sector professionals already working on a project/review to also include a "green roof", or other green requirement in the design, and therefore project/staff is now green. But would have been working anyway. Accounting giberish.

  • Mauricio

    "Don't bite the hand that feeds you" Only you are to blame for decision of doing something you hate for so many years.

    Alternative Energy is that "an alternative" it is not going to replace coal or oil. It is to be developed and used in conjunction with…

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Poppakap Poppakap

      Hey Mauri,

      If you are going to write something here on FPM, please do so cogently. Your first paragraph is plain gibberish. It's also extra-topical.

      Your second sentence is marginally better. But your naivete in assuming the Left simply wants "alternatives" is laughable. The green political movement has always been about causing chaos and the fall of free markets. It is a radical, totalitarian ideology that will destroy the quality of life in our dear country if allowed to advance unabated.

  • K. Bond

    Every right minded person needs to read Michael Crichton's book STATE OF FEAR from 2004! Although the book is fiction, Michael (as always) does his homework to make any of his books TECHNICALLY ACCURATE. This one is no exception. (He has 35 pages of bibliographies!) I invite all of you to go directly to Appendix 1 in the back of the book. This is where he opens up to his readers and tells what HE thinks. It will awaken any open-minded person.

    If only he were alive today, we could all tell him "BOY MIKE, YOU HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD WITH THIS ONE, and you knew this 6 years ago!~."

    In short, he describes how the entire GREEN push is a vicious cycle and is completely falsely fabricated.

    Check it out, and thank me very much.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/71_911E 71_911E

      Just re-read it a few weeks ago because of all the crap that's going on with Obama Bin Laden. (Funny how only one letter differentiates Osama and Obama.) You're absolutely correct about Chrichton. I especially love all of the graphs illustrating the fact that temps are actually falling… Oh well, our statist politicians crammed one down our throats this week, and it will only embolden them to accelerate their agenda.

    • Mike

      You are absolutely correct, Crichton was a visionary genius. He really predicted the corruption of Al Gore and his liberal minions in the wacko environmental movement. He's not partisan either because in his book "Rising Sun" he points to our sellout to Japanese interests during the Reagan years.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/eerieSteve eerieSteve

        Selling out to Japan may have seemed unwise at the time, but now it was the right decision; as a unified Japan, South Korea, India, Indonesia, New Guinea would be the natural counter balance to an over heated Red China.

  • Minnie M

    For 20 years I have been trying to tell people that the global warming scare was a hoax dreamed up by the samepeople who gave us the Alar in the apples scare. It has long been known that the El Nino ocean warming and cooling is caused by volcanic activity on the deep ocean floor. Yet people swallowed the bait and swallowed these con artists' propaganda and voted in the most repressive regime ever to "reform" everything we do. People are indeed dumb.

  • badaboo

    Well the Chinese are producing almost 70% of the worlds high efficiency solar panels , And it's no wonder when attitudes like this prevail in this country . The US should be the leading producer , in not only solar panels but wind generators , as this same stale attitude now turns into classic Trzupek partisan politic . People want to continue pounding Obama no matter what , even when it goes against their own greater good .
    Anyone who thinksd solar energy and wind and wave generators are not the future , is an utter fool . Not to mention a matter of national security .
    Keep your partisan politics confined to politics , not to the detriment of scientific and economic advancement . With the prevailing attitudes such as this , how in the hell are we ever going to end dependence on arab oil . Some of you are like broken records ,Solar and wind and wave generated power , have nothing to do with Al Gore , or Global warming , although you'd never know that in view of the constant contentious attitudes .Get over your childish hatred of anything Democrat /Left / Gore /Green , and start thinking like intelligent adults .

    • Don Kosloff

      The Chinese percentage of production of solar panels has nothing to do with the attitudes that prevail in this country. Chinese production of solar panels is entirely dependant on the costs of labor, the costs of environmental regulation compliance and access to energy. The green jobs iniative will not reduce the costs of US labor, it will increase the US costs of environmental regulation compliance and reduce US access to energy.
      Thinking that wind and wave generators, and solar energy are in the future should not prevent accepting the rational conclusion that they will only generate a small fraction of future needed energy.
      The way to end dependence on arab oil is to increase drilling in the US and build more nuclear power plants.

  • badaboo

    In other words ..GROW UP …and p.s. Minni M.no one voted for Obama because of the environment , they voted him in because they were fed up with Bush , Republicans , and the BUSH CLONE McCain , with his horrible choice of a totally unqualified , unaware Palin .

  • WSG

    Badaboo-
    Please explain how we are supposed to power any rolling stock – cars, trucks, tractors, heavy equip(bull dozers, etc) or trains with wind and /or solar power ?? Ans: the battery technology does NOT exist .
    "Alternative energies" have not been developed because they are NOT PRICE COMPETITIVE ie there is ZERO demand for energy priced that high .
    The "green agenda" or eco-socialism( their terminology) has been and IS the destruction of free markets, private property, individual liberty and the US Constitution.
    I've been nose to nose with the Progressive "Greens" for thirty years and they have never been shy about the outcomes they seek. If you want to see unadulterated HATE mention the concept of traditional Judeo- Christian stewardship of the earth in a meeting of Progressive Greens. Been there and done that !

  • http://thereisnosantaclaus.blogspot.com TINSC

    I'm a big fan of flex fuel vehicles. Give consumers choice and let the market decide.

  • Funboy

    If Global Warming is a propaganda technique and is not true then maybe we should shift to a renewable energy society simply for the fact that you like healthy air. The burning of coal, natural gas and gasoline without a doubt does put pollutants in the air, yes the very same air we breathe. There is no doubt the burning of these fuels are the factors that cause a long list of detrimental health effects. Therefore, if you can't get around to believing in global warming then perhaps you should believe in breathing fresh air.
    The transition from an economy based on burning cheap fossil fuels to an intelligent economy dependant on renewable energy will of course take a minute for the positive effects to take affect. It will take our economy a min to make that transition and when our economy will benefit the most is when we have transitioned and then assist other countries into the new era.

    • davarino

      Ya, we need to switch to nuclear energy. No pollutants there as long as the radioactive material is disposed of properly, and they are able to do that. The nuclear power plants of today are very safe. So I say we go "nuclear green". How does that sound?

      Otherwise you are not going to replace coal power with solar panels and windmills. Aint going to happen, not enough energy there. You cant cover the US with solar panels and there isnt enough wind or windmills to create the equivalent energy.

  • Funboy

    I disagree, energy is used in residential homes and commercial buildins all of which have a roof that can be covered in solar panels. With improvements in efficiency and the covering of buildings with solar as well as the additional energy from hydrogen, wind, and geothermal the United States can become energy independant, especially if our vehicles run off of this energy through plug ins. Additionally, without our money from oil the Middle east regimes will crumble and our tax dollars going to that region instead of being used to fight wars we could use that money internally in our country .
    And as far as these blindfolded free market supporters go, the market already is corrupted with subsidies and renewable energy needs subsidies to help keep up with the already subsidized fossil fuels. If your for a true free market then you should be arguing to eliminate all subsidies and then let the free market decide. Without a doubt, renewable energy will prevail in a free market.

    • Don Kosloff

      There is no energy from hydrogen. Hydrogen has to be manufactured by using more energy then can be recovered from the hydrogen.

    • wdwrkr

      IF we were to pursue wholesale replacement of fossil fuels with "renewables", the end result would be economically disastrous. "Renewables" are not cost effective, hence the need for gov't subsidies. This would be a mis-allocation of resources and cause all costs to rise in this country. Further, as we reduce consumption of Mideast oil (and replace with more expensive "renewables"), the price of that Mideast oil will drop in response to reduced demand. Again, this would damage our economy as our competitors gain further advantage by using even cheaper energy from the Mideast to power their economies.

      I'm all for "renewables". But, only if they are economically competitive, without gov't interference. And, yes, we should remove any gov't subsidies that exist for oil.

  • Funboy

    My argument is exactly what you said. The fact that at this current moment there is no sensible, safe way to dispose of nuclear waste. No one wants it near them because it is so destructive. Yes, i agree by volume it is thee most efficient source of energy, but until nuclear waste can be disposed of safely I will never support this dangerous process. Its just not safe.

    • Don Kosloff

      The sensible, safe way to dispose of nuclear waste. Gaia showes us this billions of years ago with the Yucca Mountain analog at Oklo in Gabon. At least 17 uranium fission reactors operated at Oklo for thousands of years in a fractured rock geological structure, periodically saturated with water. When the fuel was spent, it remained in that structure with no engineered protective features. There are thousands of people who are content to live near spent nuclear fuel, I am one of them. I am actually happy to live near such a valuable resource, as are the people in Nye County. Spent nuclear fuel has never destroyed anything. Coal waste on the other hand has and continues to destroy people's lives.

  • badaboo

    Nuclear ednergy indeed , anything to break this bloody dependence on arab oil .There is also a brand new technology on the market , and in fact , already in use Chemical /Electric . From what Ive seen , a unit the size of a standard 20x8x8 ship container can power about 2 or 3 -4 story office buildings . Solar Panels are already powering small towns , and Wind Generators small cities . We shouild be moving ahead on all four technologies . There will always be a necessity for coal and oil ,for the foreseeable future, but greatly diminished, which will lead to cheaper prices -due to lower demand. For anyone who can remember back in '73 when the arabs put the screws to us at the gas pumps and heating oils , we swore we would end this dependence , yet we've only increased it by almost 60% …time to stop jerking around , as I dont imagine the arab /muslim world will be very happy with us in the days ahead .We are in bed with our enemies NOW , due to oil dependence , and our enemies have many of our own allies over a barrel due to it.
    Time to fish or cut bait .

    • Don Kosloff

      What small towns are powered by solar panels and what small cities are powered by wind generators?

  • rycK

    I call this EcoNazism. The green revolution is a waste of money and a loss of power and liberty for the citizens of the US.

    Spain’s Solar Energy Bubble Bursts. California is Next. The First of a Series of GanGreen Asset Bubbles Bursting.
    http://rycksrationalizations.blogtownhall.com/201

    This is insanity. The ONLY thing they are doing is to substitute more costly ways to generate the same energy. That is much less than a zero sum game. It is a loser.

    rycK

    Comments to: ryckki@gmail.com

  • Bryan Clark

    Wind and Solar power generating systems will NEVER replace even ONE gas/oil/nuclear plant. The simple reason being that when there is no wind or sunshine, the gas/oil/nuclear power stations must be available to carry 100% of the load. Do you all understand this? Solar and Wind cannot even reduce the oil/gas/nuclear consumption when they are available, because the gas/oil/nuclear plants must still be on-line and switchable at a moments notice for backup when the sun and wind fail. This is the sad truth of the intermittent, random and unreliable sources that are solar and wind. Do you all understand this?

  • badaboo

    The Free Market IS determining what's best , while B.S. petty poliitics , totally ignore science technology in favor of contentious straw man pi–ing contests , the Chinese are eating our lunch ., and I believe one of the Scandinavian countries is leading the way in Wind generators , we BUY FROM THEM . Our Goverrnment SHOULD subsidize development , after all you dont mind the subsidization of the oil industry , in thew way of credits and tax breaks , and that's just the way the oil lobbies like it . BTW , Darwin's Principles dont work at all when you hobble the fittest .
    And FYI , the mechanism for El Nino is well known fact , although not 100% predictable , but pretty much so , due to the fact that the Westerly Winds are not 100% predictable .

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/71_911E 71_911E

    I don't know which one of you is correct about El Nino, but there's a simple solution to this bullshift green energy stuff. Let the FREE market determine what's best. If wind or solar can compete without using my money to subsidize it, I'm perfectly willing to use it. Darwin's principles work well in the FREE market. Think about it.