What Fresh Hell Is This?

April 10, 2010

The Trib/AEI/And Incomplete Homework

From today's Tribune-Review:
The overly enthusiastic presumption about government-funded "green jobs" is that they'll spur new industries that will invigorate an idle U.S. economy. Nothing can be further from the truth.

These shibboleths and more are exposed in a U.S. News & World Report (usnews.com) analysis by environmental scientist Kenneth P. Green, an American Enterprise Institute scholar. Point by point Mr. Green reveals some of the more common fallacies.
Wait, wait. The American Enterprise Institute? You know the drill by now, my friends.
  • In 2008, the Sarah Scaife Foundation granted $475,000 to the American Enterprise Institute.
  • In 2007, the Sarah Scaife Foundation granted $425,000 to the American Enterprise Institute.
  • In 2006, the Sarah Scaife Foundation granted $575,000 to the American Enterprise Institute.
That's about $1.5 million dollars in three years, right?
Mediamatters reports that the Sarah Scaife and Carthage Foundations gave a total of about $7.3 million to the AEI over about 20 years. (Circle jerk, circle jerk, circle jerk....)
But what about what Green says?
Well you can't believe everything you read on the pages of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, can you? Here's more from the Trib:
Moreover, by using tax dollars and government incentives to undercut the competition, green jobs kill conventional energy jobs. In Spain's experience, every renewable-energy job that was created eliminated, on average, 2.2 traditional jobs, according to a study by Spain's King Juan Carlos University.
And Green from his USNews Opinion piece:
Now to the empirical evidence. When talking about our bold green energy future, President Obama held up Spain as an example. Spain invested heavily in wind power and other renewable energy. Alas, after studying the Spanish experience, Prof. Gabriel Calzada Alvarez and colleagues at Spain's Universidad Rey Juan Carlos found that if America followed Spain's example, for every renewable energy job that the United States managed to create, it should expect a loss, on average, of at least 2.2 traditional jobs.
Except it's not so simple. According to this paper from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL):
The recent report from King Juan Carlos University deviates from the traditional research methodologies used to estimate jobs impacts. In addition, it lacks transparency and supporting statistics, and fails to compare RE technologies with comparable energy industry metrics. It also fails to account for important issues such as the role of government in emerging markets, the success of RE exports in Spain, and the fact that induced economic impacts can be attributed to RE deployment. Finally, differences in policy are significant enough that the results of analysis conducted in the Spanish context are not likely to be indicative of workforce impacts in the United States or other countries.
In summary, the analysis performed in this recent study is not a jobs impact estimate and, therefore, provides little insight into job creation or job loss from Spanish RE policy. Additionally, this analysis has oversimplifications and assumptions that lead to questions regarding its quantitative results. Finally, the authors fail to justify their implication that because of the jobs comparison, subsidies for renewables are not worthwhile. This ignores an array of benefits besides employment creation that flow from government investment in renewable energy technologies.
But wait. I can hear the skeptics out there screaming: But they get their funding from the guv'ment! Funding money taints everything!!.
But get this from a blog at the Wall Street Journal:
And just where did that study come from? Professor Gabriel Calzada is the founder and president of the Fundacion Juan de Mariana, a libertarian think tank founded in 2005. He’s also a fellow of the Center for New Europe, a Brussels-based libertarian think thank than in recent years apparently accepted funding from Exxon Mobil.
As I said, you can't always believe what you read on the pages of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

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