WASHINGTON – Next week, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu will visit Ringgold, Va., on a mission to develop so-called “green jobs” based on renewable energy sources.
President Obama’s administration is spending massive amounts of taxpayer money on subsidizing the new jobs with the assumption they will more than replace employment sure to be eliminated by carbon taxes, cap-and-trade legislation and other limits on traditional industry.
But Washington might want to examine an ominous warning from Spain, an early pioneer in pursuing the theory of “green jobs.”
According to economics professor Gabriel Calzada of King Juan Carlos University in Madrid, the Spanish government’s renewable energy initiatives have destroyed 2.2 jobs for every new “green” job created.
Calzada even projects, for the benefit of Americans, that the same formula will apply in the United States if it pursues renewable energy at the expense of conventional energy sources.
“As President Obama correctly remarked, Spain provides a reference for the establishment of government aid to renewable energy,” Calzaza wrote in “Study of the Effects on Employment of Public Aid to Renewable Energy Sources.” “No other country has given such broad support to the construction and production of electricity through renewable sources. The arguments for Spain’s and Europe’s ‘green jobs’ schemes are the same arguments now made in the U.S., principally that massive public support would produce large numbers of green jobs. The question that this paper answers is ‘at what price?'”
That turned out to be a faulty premise, continues Calzada. In fact, he writes nine jobs have been lost for every four created under such initiatives.
“The study’s results demonstrate how such ‘green jobs’ policy clearly hinders Spain’s way out of the current economic crisis, even while U.S. politicians insist that rushing into such a scheme will ease their own emergence from the turmoil,” wrote Calzada.
Other critics of the “green jobs” approach have suggested that proponents are emphasizing only benefits without an exploration of the costs. Yet, they see it as doubtful that the Obama administration, which has cited Spain as a model for the creation of “green jobs,” will heed Calzada’s warnings.
“Calzada’s study is especially devastating in that President Obama looks to Spain’s policy as a model for the United States,” explains Jon Sanders, a policy analyst and research editor at the John Locke Foundation. “A policy that kills more than twice as many jobs as it creates and that raises energy prices, which is especially harmful toward the poor, would be a bad idea in an economic boom. In the midst of a severe recession, it would be folly on a scale not seen since the backfiring policies of the Depression era,” he told Environment & Climate News.