More on green jobs

In addition to me, Tyler Cowen, and Bastiat, here are a few other credible voices weighing in on green jobs.

Environmental Economics:
“We’ve reached another milestone as we move to a clean energy future,” Mrs. Boxer said in a statement, “creating millions of jobs and protecting our children from dangerous pollution.”
Cap-and-trade won't create millions of jobs in the way that a naive reader might perceive that statement. Jobs will be created in certain industries and we'll be able to point a finger at those and count them up. Jobs will also be lost elsewhere as a result of regulation and these will be more difficult to point out and count up. The net effect will be minor noise in the symphony of cyclical, structural and frictional job market. In other words, don't expect the unemployment rate to fall as a result of cap-and-trade.
When legislation like the Kerry-Boxer climate bill, which includes many provisions that would make energy more expensive for consumers and businesses, is marketed as a jobs bill it merits a skeptical reception. Stimulating jobs in the 6-10% of the economy devoted to energy seems unlikely to compensate for the loss of jobs that would ensue throughout the broader economy, if climate legislation caused energy costs to soar. That may, however, be a necessary evil, and the question we should really be asking is not how many green jobs such legislation will create, but whether on balance its provisions are truly justified in order to address climate change--even if they resulted in a net loss of employment, as I strongly suspect they would. Unless the answer is an unequivocal yes, we could be setting our long-term energy policy on the basis of a metric that is only a minor contributor to either energy costs or total economic activity, for reasons that seem unlikely to stand the test of time.

P.S. Did not intend to back-handedly praise my "credibility" by association...

No comments:

Post a Comment