Myths about greens jobs

September 3rd, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The has published a paper exposing some myths about “green jobs”. The seven myths are:

Myth 1: Everyone understands what a “green job” is.

Fact 1: No standard definition of a “green job” exists.

Myth 2: Creating green jobs will boost productive employment.

Fact 2: Green jobs estimates in these oft-quoted studies include huge numbers of clerical, bureaucratic, and administrative positions that do not produce goods and services for consumption.

Myth 3: Green jobs forecasts are reliable.

Fact 3: The green jobs studies make estimates using poor economic models based on dubious assumptions.

Myth 4: Green jobs promote employment growth.

Fact 4: By promoting more jobs instead of more productivity, the green jobs described in the literature actually encourage low paying jobs in less desirable conditions. Economic growth cannot be ordered by national governments or by the United Nations (UN). Government interference in the economy – such as restricting successful technologies in favor of speculative technologies favored by special interests – will generate
stagnation.

Myth 5: The world economy can be remade by reducing trade and relying on local production and reduced consumption without dramatically decreasing our standard of living.

Fact 5: History shows that individual nations cannot produce everything that citizens need or want. People and countries have talents that allow specialization in products and services that make them ever more efficient, lower-cost producers, thereby enriching all people.

Myth 6: Government mandates are a substitute for free markets.

Fact 6: Companies react more swiftly and efficiently to the demands of their customers/markets, than to cumbersome government mandates.

Myth 7: Wishing for technological progress is sufficient.

Fact 7: Some technologies preferred by the green jobs studies are not capable of efficiently reaching the scale necessary to meet today’s demands.

The study is not based specifically on the NZ “green jobs” policies, but I suspect much of it is relevant.

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34 Responses to “Myths about greens jobs”

  1. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    Myth 8: An emissions trading scheme will reduce carbon emissions, and won’t increase the cost of living.

    Myth 9: John Key’s mates in the finance sector won’t make a small fortune at the expense of middle New Zealand.

    Myth 10: The National government couldn’t get rid of the ETS because it was already law.

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  2. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    Actually, a similar study in Spain not long ago proved that so called green jobs were extremely uneconomic and damaging to the labour market.

    http://www.masterresource.org/2009/04/green-job-destruction-creating-green-jobs-kills-jobs-on-net/

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  3. ben (2,384 comments) says:

    How about this one: green energy is not green. Wind turbines, solar, hydro all impose enormous environmental costs. Wind and solar has such low energy density that substantial fractions of entire land masses of nations would have to be consumed to provide land sufficient to produce sufficient electricity. I recommend “Power Hungry: The Myths of “Green” Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future” by Bryce.

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  4. Whoops (136 comments) says:

    mm perhaps, but given the subsidies (real and effective) that go to the petro industries (i.e. non green) I’d doubt they’re as good as they purport either.

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  5. CJD (333 comments) says:

    The Greens just keep re-inventing themselves to give life to their tired old communist ideology. It is time that the so-called center-right regains the moral high ground on ecological/environmental issues, thereby denying the Greens their dubious right of existence. Environamentalism in the form of sensible and efficient use of resources is a capitalist concept really. The mediator is cost however, not some form of metaphysical value system.
    Question-how do you destroy large, global companies? A: You find an arbitrary measure or unit on which you can tax them back into the stoneage. And if it kills evil private transport driven by internal combustion engines then that is a double plus. So industry produces carbon, which is directly correlated to output, which correlated to profit. Profit bad-carbon bad!

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  6. tom hunter (5,095 comments) says:

    DPF

    I don’t see the point in listing all these Green myths as supposed negatives when the fact is that all of them are excellent reasons for the Left to support “Green Jobs”

    Besides that, I don’t know if it’s a good idea to put this sort of bait here for Greens to attack. Have we not already seen enough violence occurring as a result of the toxic, hate-filled, partisan political and cultural environment created by people like Al Gore ;)

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  7. Repton (769 comments) says:

    Environamentalism in the form of sensible and efficient use of resources is a capitalist concept really. The mediator is cost however, not some form of metaphysical value system.

    How do you deal with externalities?

    e.g. farms/factories discharging waste into rivers, leading to polluted rivers. An environmentalist would want unpolluted rivers. How would a capitalist society achieve that goal?

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  8. CJD (333 comments) says:

    @tom hunter “evil (scare-mongering mongrels who missuse public good will to achieve their agenda by selling plausable lies) prospers when good (sensible, logical and informed) (wo)men do nothing”

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  9. Whoops (136 comments) says:

    DPF – I retract the implied conspiracy angle above, on the assumption it’s purely a response to this other bunch of one eyed clowns ;-)

    http://thestandard.org.nz/on-the-edge-of-a-second-recession-greens-have-a-plan-nats-dont/

    [DPF: No quite unrelated to that. I only check that site out when someone alerts me to a story there. Far too tedious generally]

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  10. CJD (333 comments) says:

    Repton-my point was that a clean environment is a fundamental right for all of us. We shouldn’t the concept to be captured by a p[articular group that seeks to push a particular, narrow and discredited political ideaology. As far as effluent discharge-fine the buggers and plow this funding back in to support environmental projects. If the level of pollution hits unacceptable levels close down the operation.
    With a mainstreaming of environmental consciousness (i.e. part of everyone’s reality irrespective of political leaninng) the need for efficient environmental controls becomes just another cost of entry for businesses/farms. I am an ACT supporter and I consider myself highly environmentally aware.

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  11. JiveKitty (778 comments) says:

    @tom hunter: Attempting to score cheap points against the greens off the back of somebody who was obviously mentally ill and unrepresentative of the majority of greens (if anything the majority are not mentally ill, but stupid, unable to consider the big picture and so-on) is pretty low. Especially as you can easily score many valid points against the greens.

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  12. Monty (980 comments) says:

    CJD – I agree with you completely – The Gweenies think they should have a monopoly on the environment and sustainable issues. Nothing could – or should be further from the truth. For a start the Gweeie policies ignore the realities of life – essentially they are anti-development and anti-progress – they ignore the fact that 100% of us (including the Gweenies themsleves) do not want to take crappy inefficient rat infested public transport (that does not deliver to our destination), we do not want to live in caves, and we want long hot showers to keep clean.

    Efficient energy usage in our homes needs to havea cost advantage – I know of one stupid Government department that spent $22,000 installing solar hot water that ended up with savings of $200 per annum. The contractor was happy but that was about it.

    If the Nats promote green policies but with an economic advantage – and stress the fact that green polices are a crock of shit then hopefully their support will finally fall below that magic 5% and they can then join Winston on the dole queue.

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  13. Whoops (136 comments) says:

    @Monty “…Nats promote green policies but with an economic advantage…”

    Agree fully. Mainstream it and remove the barking mad aspects. I’d choose good growth before self flagelation anyday.

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  14. mjwilknz (605 comments) says:

    CJD, Whoops and Monty, a more accurate colour for many, although not all, of those who call themselves green would be, deep crimson red! It’s important to keep in mind that environmental issues can easily hide deeper anti-capitalist, pro big government sentiments. Ask greens what they think of toll roads and you may get a sense of whether it’s the environment they really care about.

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  15. tom hunter (5,095 comments) says:

    …Attempting to score cheap points against the greens

    JiveKitty

    You obviously missed the ;) Do I need to add the /sarc tag as well?

    The point I was making will probably be more apparent to you the the next time a Leftie/Green on this site refers to the violent fascistic language in the “Teabagger” movement, or explaining how Rush Limbaugh’s “violent and hate-filled rhetoric”, not to mention “Fundamentalist Christian whackjobs” naturally led to Timothy McVeigh.

    Tell you what. I’ll score another cheap political point with the following and see if you get the underlying message this time:

    …when good (sensible, logical and informed) (wo)men do nothing”

    Perhaps you’re right CJD. As a right-wing capitalist I need to start rapidly creating “Green Jobs” as soon as possible. Clearly the failure of my ilk to do so to date has isolated the moderate elements within the Green movement, empowered the fanatics and probably created more such people. People who have felt excluded and ostracised within our consumer society, which insults and offends their value systems. We must do whatever it takes to make these people feel less threatened, not to mention creating the sort of jobs that can lift them out of the deprivation they suffer because of their principled objection to working in carbon-blacking factories.

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  16. unaha-closp (1,180 comments) says:

    @Repton

    How do you deal with externalities?

    A capitalist would price all externality to the consumer, thus allowing them to make a value judgement as to the worthiness of a product/service.

    A socialist would forbid externalities at local production and ignore the equivalent externalities in non-local production, performing cranial rectal inversion whilst reciting NIMBYistic crap over and over again that GLOBAL problems require LOCAL solutions, ruin local business and create 100 paper preening green jobs doing so. They’d call it an ETS.

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  17. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “How would a capitalist society achieve that goal?”

    Groan- so poorly informed, so narrow and so blinkered. This is what we are up against folks- this kind of muleish indoctrinated irrational prejudice. Until the education system is repaired, it will always be here.

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  18. Fot (252 comments) says:

    “Groan- so poorly informed, so narrow and so blinkered. This is what we are up against folks- this kind of muleish indoctrinated irrational prejudice. Until the education system is repaired, it will always be here.”

    Ha ha, this from the most ignorant, bigoted and stupid person on the nett.

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  19. CJD (333 comments) says:

    Quite tiresome how an attempt at sensible debate is a depth-charged by blinkered individuals. My point is that you’d have to be an idiot to purprposely harm the very word we live in. A lot of very decent and good people support the Greens because they have been suckered into believing that the Greens somehow have an exclusive handle on solving environmetal issues.
    These well-meaning people blindly support a party whose (not so) hidden agenda is deeply anti-capitalist and the very concept of green economics is farcical in the extreme.

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  20. CJD (333 comments) says:

    that is word-damn I need glasses!

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  21. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Let’s not forget it is Green technologies, like the development of bio-fuels, which is driving the transferral of food crops into bio-fuel crops. As a result food has become more scarce and certainly more expensive – especially for those in the third world.

    Mind you, many of the Greenies are One Worlders who want to reduce the global population anyway – so maybe there’s method to their madness.

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  22. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Let’s not forget it is Green technologies, like the development of bio-fuels, which is driving the transferral of food crops into bio-fuel crops. As a result food has become more scarce and certainly more expensive – especially for those in the third world.

    Is it still ‘green technology’ if: people only buy biofuel because petrol is too expensive and/or because people/governments are trying to lessen their dependence on the middle east?

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  23. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    stephen 2:27 pm,

    Is it still ‘green technology’ if: people only buy biofuel because petrol is too expensive and/or because people/governments are trying to lessen their dependence on the middle east?

    Don’t get me wrong, Stephen, I’m all for devloping alternative fuels, and reducing our dependence on the Middle East (Muslims nations) for oil.

    I just see the drive behind the Green movement as primarily being about bankrupting the Judeo-Christian Democratic Captitalist West – through some misguided concern for the planet. Also, I believe the Green movement is about, ultimately, severe population reduction – they view that ant you squashed on your walk to work as just a valuable (perhaps more) than you are.

    And while I care for the environment, it’s not because I worship the mother earth godess, Gaia, and as a result hate mankind.

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  24. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    Spain’s experience (as mentioned by redbaiter at 11:06)

    Some highlights from the study – ref page 10

    7. The study calculates that since 2000 Spain spent €571,138 to create each “green job”, including subsidies of more than €1 million per wind industry job.

    8. The study calculates that the programs creating those jobs also resulted in the
    destruction of nearly 110,500 jobs elsewhere in the economy, or 2.2 jobs
    destroyed for every “green job” created.

    10. Each “green” megawatt installed destroys 5.28 jobs on average elsewhere in the
    economy: 8.99 by photovoltaics, 4.27 by wind energy, 5.05 by mini-hydro.

    11. These costs do not appear to be unique to Spain’s approach but instead are
    largely inherent in schemes to promote renewable energy sources.

    13. The total subsidy spent and committed (NPV adjusted by 4%) to these three
    renewable sources amounts to 28,671 million euros ($36 billion USD).

    15. Spanish citizens must therefore cope with either an increase of electricity rates
    or increased taxes (and public deficit), as will the U.S. if it follows Spain’s model.

    24. Renewables consume enormous taxpayer resources. In Spain, the average
    annuity payable to renewables is equivalent to 4.35% of all VAT collected,
    3.45% of the household income tax, or 5.6% of the corporate income tax for
    2007.

    This madness, proposed and forced on Spain and other nations by the Green movement are the reason we must wake up and resist. Cheap, abundant energy is what has driven the improvements in health, education, social services and quality if life.

    The Greens would wipe all that away in pursuit of their utopia which spans the extremist spectrum, from simple Marxism at one end, to eugenic genocide at the other.

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  25. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Don’t get me wrong, Stephen, I’m all for devloping alternative fuels, and reducing our dependence on the Middle East (Muslims nations) for oil.

    The price of this could well be – if the answer is biofuels to any significant extent – richer nations causing poor ones to pay even more for their food. Seems to be some cognitive dissonance going on for some (not necessarily you) to condemn biofuel use in the name of ‘green’ while being fine with using it if it’s in the name of markets and foreign policy. Depends on what biofuels are made from of course, but the ones we’ve seen coming from the US’s ethanol subsidies (Bush and Obama) in the last several years have been directly from food, and that certainly wasn’t an exclusively ‘green’ initiative when it started.

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  26. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    stephen 3:03 pm,

    The price of this could well be – if the answer is biofuels to any significant extent – richer nations causing poor ones to pay even more for their food. Seems to be some cognitive dissonance going on for some (not necessarily you) to condemn biofuel use in the name of ‘green’ while being fine with using it if it’s in the name of markets and foreign policy.

    Provided “markets and foreign policy” are founded upon “brotherly love” then no one should be disadvantaged.
    Don’t get me wrong, though, I’m certainly not advocating Marxism/Communism – more a theocratic benevolent dictatorship ;)

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  27. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Provided “markets and foreign policy” are founded upon “brotherly love” then no one should be disadvantaged.

    Brotherly love?

    Markets and foreign policy are very often focused on self-interest, so hard to see them taking into account any sort of altruism in this case.

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  28. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    Remember when the You-Know-Who Party tried plugging their bullshit “Green New Deal” crap for a few months after the economic crisis? Good times, good times.

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  29. Whoops (136 comments) says:

    “[DPF: They are all just sub-parts of the VRWC, which of course pays all right wing bloggers]”

    Thought so. Oh well, it seems to have done the job and the usual crowd of useful idiots seem to have jumped at the whistle.

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  30. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    @Whoops – You are mistaken. I don’t need a whistle from DPF or anyone to expose the lies that emanate from most things Green.

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  31. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    Hate the concept or love it, whatever we do on the planet has to ultimately be sustainable. No argument, no discussion required. Statement of fact.

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  32. simpleton (239 comments) says:

    “No argument, no discussion required. Statement of fact”. WHY ?

    Who plans your sustainable life plan?

    Is it you?

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  33. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Whoops 6:49 pm,

    [DPF: They are all just sub-parts of the VRWC, which of course pays all right wing bloggers]

    The last cheque I got funded me into my third rental property – you Leftards don’t know what you’re missing – membership has definite benefits.

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