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The Green Job Myth Exposed

Posted By Conn Carroll On March 18, 2009 @ 3:45 pm In Energy | Comments Disabled

Late last year we called into question [1] the credibility of a Center for American Progress “study [2]” purporting to show how how many “green collar jobs” $100 billion in government spending on “green investments [3]” would create. CAP did not take kindly to our criticism. [4]

Now four academics have taken a closer look at that CAP study as well as reports from three other organizations including the American Solar Energy Society, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the United Nations Environmental Programme. York College of Pennsylvania Dean Dr. William Bogart describes their findings:

Economic analysis is not a matter of justifying policy goals by making optimistic assumptions and ignoring those realities that fail to support your objectives. Our work here clearly shows that the foundations of these “green” jobs claims do not measure up to the kind of research standards we should demand when evaluating change in direction for our economy.

Their report goes on to identify Seven Myths of Green Jobs [5], including:

  1. Myth: Everyone understands what a green job is.
    Reality: No standard definition of a green job exists.
  2. Myth: Creating green jobs will boost productive employment.
    Reality: Green jobs estimates include huge numbers of clerical, bureaucratic, and administrative positions that do not produce goods and services for consumption.
  3. Myth: Green jobs forecasts are reliable.
    Reality: The green jobs studies made estimates using poor economic models based on dubious assumptions.
  4. Myth: Green jobs promote employment growth.
    Reality: By promoting more jobs instead of more productivity, the green jobs described in the literature encourage low-paying jobs in less desirable conditions. Economic growth cannot be ordered by Congress or by the United Nations. Government interference – such as restricting successful technologies in favor of speculative technologies favored by special interests – will generate stagnation.
  5. Myth: The world economy can be remade by reducing trade and relying on local production and reduced consumption without dramatically decreasing our standard of living.
    Reality: History shows that nations cannot produce everything their citizens need or desire. People and firms have talents that allow specialization that make goods and services ever more efficient and lower-cost, thereby enriching society.
  6. Myth: Government mandates are a substitute for free markets.
    Reality: Companies react more swiftly and efficiently to the demands of their customers and markets, than to cumbersome government mandates.
  7. Myth: Imposing technological progress by regulation is desirable.
    Reality: Some technologies preferred by the green jobs studies are not capable of efficiently reaching the scale necessary to meet today’s demands and could be counterproductive to environmental quality.

Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2009/03/18/the-green-job-myth-exposed/

URLs in this post:

[1] we called into question: http://www.heritage.org/Research/EnergyandEnvironment/wm2122.cfm

[2] study: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2008/09/pdf/green_recovery.pdf

[3] green investments: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2008/11/green_investment2.html

[4] CAP did not take kindly to our criticism.: http://www.foundry.org/2008/11/14/the-left-is-still-living-in-a-cost-free-world/

[5] Seven Myths of Green Jobs: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1358423

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