In their Washington Times article Lessons from Europe, Iain Murray, Gabriel Calzada, and Carlo Stagnaro warn us in the United States about “green” energy policies that have been implemented in Europe. These harmful policies are just like the ones we are considering here.
The cap-and-trade system that’s been in place in Europe has done little to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “The scheme has been repeatedly gamed and manipulated by industry and governments so that emissions have actually increased faster than the those of the United States, with none of the big reductions promised materializing.”
Meanwhile, electricity bills are going up, and Europe has become more dependent on natural gas imports from Russia.
Spain has gained experience with the costs of green jobs. Large government incentives meant that the renewable energy sector in Spain grew rapidly — at a large cost that taxpayers and consumers will continue to pay for a long time.
Furthermore, it turns out that green jobs are expensive. Here’s what Bloomberg reported about a study released by one of the authors of the Times article:
The premiums paid for solar, biomass, wave and wind power – – which are charged to consumers in their bills — translated into a $774,000 cost for each Spanish “green job” created since 2000, said Gabriel Calzada, an economics professor at the university and author of the report.
“The loss of jobs could be greater if you account for the amount of lost industry that moves out of the country due to higher energy prices,” he said in an interview.
The Times article notes that “most of these ‘green jobs’ were transitory, anyhow, mostly connected with construction, not operation.” This is a common criticism made of the proposal to build a coal-fired power plant in Kansas. Yes, thousands of jobs will be created, but only for a year or two, say the critics. It turns out that green jobs have the same life cycle.
It turns out that cap-and-trade has not worked out well for Europe. Neither has heavy government subsidy worked to create jobs at a cost that we can afford.
We have to wonder, then, why President Obama is so committed to cap-and-trade in the United States.