It is true that most of the reports I’ve encountered (and posts) about the burgeoning green economy and the promise of new jobs are all seem to be bright, sunny, absolutely, positively (sometimes nauseatingly) optimistic.
Finally, here is a report that might put back a little bit of realism into the equation.
Researchers from the University of Texas-Arlington, York College of Pennsylvania, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, and University of Illinois launched a study called Seven Myths About Green Jobs which calls into question the widespread claims on potential economic, employment and environmental benefits promoted by groups such as the American Solar Energy Society (ASES), the Center for American Progress, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) among others.
The authors of the study said these green job claims lack sound research methods, have erroneous economic assumptions and routinely uses technological omissions to lend support to major public policies and government spending initiatives. They also emphasized the lack of peer review analysis and transparency of models and calculations in some of the recent green job claims.
“One of the major flaws in existing research is its failure to acknowledge that mandating a move to new “green” sectors of the economy and away from fossil fuel-based sectors will shift jobs rather than create new jobs and thus overall economic growth.”
Here are the study’s conclusion:
- No agreed, coherent definition of a “green job” exists in the public debate. Many of the jobs classified as “green” in these four most popular studies produce no environmental results.
- Green jobs ultimately will not promote employment growth or improve production because many are concentrated by design in low productivity occupations.
- Green jobs proponents rely on highly problematic assumptions about constant prices and lack of technological change that render their “multiplier effect” misleading and, therefore, useless.
- Green job advocates incorrectly assume that government mandates are a substitute for free markets. Their models are based on the assumption that politicians can predict what technologies are best and what the markets will bear.
- Many green jobs proposals are an effort to implement anti-trade policies and reduced consumption scenarios that would be unacceptable to most Americans.