Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Al Gore Tells Porkies About Green Jobs

Al Gore, in another clear piece of disinformation, claims that the windpower industry employs more people than the coal industry in the US.

Some observations:

First, this is not correct. The total employment in the coal industry is 1.4 million persons while the total employment in the wind power industry is 85,000 – a major error.

Second, if Gore was correct, it would be a very bad sign for the US. Coal generates some 155 million megawatt-hours of electricity, while wind generates only 1.3 million megawatt-hours. If wind really does employ more people than coal, it is doing so at a huge cost to American efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness.

Third, The Sierra Club and the Teamsters union (among others) are concerned. Their publication “High Road or Low Road?” reveals that, “low pay is not uncommon” in green industries, that “wage rates at many wind and solar manufacturing facilities are below the national average,” and suggests that wages for workers employed in the “green building” industry are also far lower than those of union members in other sectors. Their proposed solution is to unionize these industries, but remember just how unproductive they are even at these low wages. Replacing a coal job with a “green job” is likely to be a net loss to the economy, meaning further unemployment down the chain.

Finally, a forthcoming study from Dr Gabriel Calzada of the Instituto Juan de Mariana in Spain reveals an even greater problem. For every green job created in Spain, 3.9 jobs have been lost as a result throughout the economy. The author calls them “subprime jobs,” with good reason.

Keep an eye on this Al Gore fellow, he tells porkies.

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