Oct 20, 2009

The myth of "green jobs"

The creation of new, "green" jobs, is an oft-repeated reason to support legislation restricting carbon emissions and encouraging the development of new green technology and industries. 

The only problem is that it doesn't happen.

A new study examines the German experience and provides strong arguments against thinking that mandating renewable energy targets and providing subsidies will result in any positive results for the economy (or even the environment!!).

Some excerpts:

The allure of an environmentally benign, abundant, and cost-effective energy source has led an increasing number of industrialized countries to back public financing of renewable energies. Germany’s experience with renewable energy promotion is often cited as a model to be replicated elsewhere, being based on a combination of far-reaching energy and environmental laws that stretch back nearly two decades. (p 4)
[T]he government’s support mechanisms have in many respects subverted these incentives, resulting in massive expenditures that show little long-term promise for stimulating the economy, protecting the environment, or increasing energy security. (p 4)
Hence, although Germany’s promotion of renewable energies is commonly portrayed in the media as setting a “shining example in providing a harvest for the world” (The Guardian 2007), we would instead regard the country’s experience as a cautionary tale of massively expensive environmental and energy policy that is devoid of economic and environmental benefits. (p 26)

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