The US Conference of Mayors has introduced a "study" extending on Obama's idea of millions of new green jobs:
A major shift to renewable energy and efficiency
is expected to produce 4.2 million new environmentally friendly "green"
jobs over the next three decades, according to a study commissioned by
the nation's mayors.
The study to be released Thursday by the U.S. Conference of Mayors,
says that about 750,000 people work today in what can be considered
green jobs from scientists and engineers researching alternative fuels
to makers of wind turbines and more energy-efficient products.
But that's less than one half of 1 percent of total employment. By
2038, another 4.2 million green jobs are expected to be added,
accounting for 10 percent of new job growth over the next 30 years,
according to the report by Global Insight, Inc.
Well, lets leave aside the measurement issue of making forecasts and establishing targets for metrics like "green jobs" that can be defined however the hell someone wants. For example, if they really were to define "green jobs" as they say above "makers of ... more energy-efficient products," then nearly everyone in industrial America already has a green job. Every car made today is more fuel-efficient than the equivalent car made 20 years ago, every motor more efficient, every machine more productive.
But lets discuss that word "incremental." Politicians NEVER, EVER cite job growth projections that are truly incremental. For example, tariff program X might be billed as saving 100 jobs in the steel industry, but what about the jobs lost in the steel-consuming industries due to higher costs? The same is most certainly true in this whole "green jobs" fiasco. It is the perfect political promise - impossible to define, impossible to measure, and therefore impossible to establish any accountability. Everyone who makes the promise knows in his/her heart the jobs are not truly incremental, while everyone who hears the promise wants to believe they are incremental. Politics thrives on this type of asymmetry.
I looked before at the impossibility of these numbers being incremental, but here is a second bite of the apple. The article says specifically:
The report, being presented at a mayor's conference in Miami, predicts
the biggest job gain will be from the increased use of alternative
transportation fuels, with 1.5 million additional jobs, followed by the
renewable power generating sector with 1.2 million new jobs.
Let's take the second number first. Here are the current US employment numbers for the US power generation field:
|Construction of power generation facilities:
Power generation and supply:
Production of power gen. equipment
That yields a total of 641,000. So is it really reasonable to think that these green plans will triple power generation employment? If so, then I hate to see what my electricity bill is going to look like.
The fuel sector is similar. There are about 338,000 people employed in petroleum extraction, refining, transportation and wholesale -- a number that includes many people related to other oil products that are not fuels. Add in about 100,000 for industry supplies and you get perhaps 450,000 jobs current tied to fuel production plus 840,000 jobs in fuel retailing (ie gas stations). How are we going to add 1.5 million net new jobs to a fuel production sector with 450,000** currently? And if we do, what is going to happen to prices and taxes? And if the investments push us away from liquid fuels to electricity, don't we have to count as a loss 840,000 retail sector jobs selling a product no longer needed?
** Your reaction may be that these job numbers look low. They are all from the BLS here. Here is a quick way to convince yourself there really are not that many people working in the US oil and gas industry: Despite years of mismanagement and government subsidies, politicians continue to fawn over auto companies. Despite years of excellence at what they do, politicians demonize oil companies. The reason has nothing to do with their relative performance, ethics, importance to the country, greed, etc. The difference is that the auto companies and their suppliers employ millions of voters. Oil companies employ but a few.
This is such ridiculous garbage as to be unbelieveable, but every paper in the country will print this credulously. Because if journalists were good with numbers, they wouldn't be journalists, they'd be doing something that pays better.