Academic Study Challenges Projections of Green Jobs

Global warming alarmists often argue that transforming our economy to reliance on “green” sources of energy is good because millions of jobs will be created. These new green jobs, it is claimed, will drive our economy forward and create wealth.

In Kansas, our governor believes in green jobs. She was a keynote speaker at a recent “Good jobs, green jobs” conference. Our likely incoming governor Mark Parkinson speaks the same language.

A just-released study from the University of Illinois adds to the critical body of evidence that shows that many of the claims made about green jobs aren’t true. From the press release announcing this study:

While acknowledging the importance of energy conservation and ongoing research and investment into new technologies, the authors set out to evaluate the fundamental soundness of green job claims. In aggregate, the academic team’s study concludes that a lack of sound research methods, erroneous economic assumptions and technological omissions have routinely been utilized to lend support, rather than provide legitimate analysis, to major public policies and government spending initiatives. Furthermore, the reports that were reviewed have been issued without the benefit of peer-reviewed analysis or transparency of their models and calculations. (emphasis added)

Furthermore:

Key findings of the study show that no definition for green jobs exists causing great discrepancy in how numbers are counted; that green job estimates often include huge numbers of clerical, bureaucratic and administrative positions that do not produce goods or services for consumption; and that problematic assumptions are made about economic predictions, prices and technology advancements leading some to ultimately favor mandates over free market realities. These serious flaws, as well as the failure to include technical data, render the prevailing green job estimates virtually unreliable.

These are the myths identified by the authors:

  • Everyone understands what a “green job” is.
  • Creating green jobs will boost productive employment.
  • Green jobs forecasts are reliable.
  • Green jobs promote employment growth.
  • The world economy can be remade by reducing trade and relying on local production and reduced consumption without dramatically decreasing our standard of living.
  • Government mandates are a substitute for free markets.
  • Imposing technological progress by regulation is desirable.

The study comes out of the University of Illinois College of Law. An article about the study with an easy-to-read (short) summary of the myths may be read by clicking on 7 Myths About Green Jobs. The full study is at Green Jobs Myths.

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