Seeing the World Through Green Colored Glasses

Kevin Zeese and Linda Schade are calling for Baltimore to jump on the green express. They argue that the Baltimore Sustainability Commission’s initiatives could put Baltimore on the “cutting edge of the new green economy of the 21st century.”

They write:

And it may be just in time. Senators Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain agree on the need to create the green jobs that will be necessary to adjust to climate change. For the first time, a federal bill was passed funding a green jobs initiative. Private investors are ahead of the government in investing in the new energy economy. Investment in green industry is now more than $117 billion and rapidly growing. Four clean-energy technologies (solar, wind, hydrogen and biofuels) are projected to increase fourfold from $40 billion in 2005 to $167 billion within the coming decade…

Green Baltimore will create jobs at all levels: researchers and academics at universities, officers and workers in green industry, trainers and tradesman developing green housing. The potential before us to lift up people and communities is vast and unmatched since the Industrial Revolution, when Baltimore became a leading manufacturing city.

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Let me stand athwart this progressive journey to the sunny uplands of history, and yell stop.

Zeese and Schade allude to the Liberman-Warner bill (LW) up for debate in the Senate. You see their Utopian dreams rest upon a the bills proposed caps on carbon dioxide emissions, mandates and subsidies to create markets that would otherwise not exist. Specifically, LW mandates a 19% reduction below the 2005 U.S. level by 2020, and 71% lower by 2050.

As Michael G. Franc of the Heritage Foundation points out the only way to achieve this is to drive up energy costs. He also provides a partial list of the $5.575 TRILLION in subsidies involved:

–$800 billion for consumers “in need of assistance related to energy costs.”
–$911 billion for electric companies “to ensure that consumers are protected from increases in energy costs.”
–$566 billion for State governments for everything from reducing the bill’s impact on low-income consumers (hey, didn’t we do that already?) to encouraging recycling.
–$213 billion for carbon-intensive manufacturers in the iron, steel, pulp, paper, cement, rubber, chemicals, glass, ceramics, sulfur hexafluoride and aluminum industries.
–$307 billion for utilities that use fossil fuels.
–$237 billion to help “wildlife” adapt to global warming.
–$190 billion for a job-training program for all those who lose their jobs under this bill.
–$342 billion for a global-warming foreign-aid program — euphemistically described as “international partnerships to adapt to global warming.”

Implicit in Zesse and Schade’s piece is the fallacy that restrictions on carbon based energy and the attendant subsidies for alternative energies will create a grand “green economy,” which will replace jobs destroyed by the new regulations. The simple fact is that to “meet” what really are unattainable goals, requires draconian r reductions in economic activity.

Testimony on LW before the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee revealed:

Naturally, with reductions in GDP come reductions in real wages and job losses. We have estimated 1.2 million to 2.3 million net job losses by 2015 over our set of scenarios. By 2020, our scenarios project between 1.5 million and 3.4 million net job losses. There is a substantial implied increase in jobs associated with “green” businesses (e.g., to produce renewable generation technologies), but even accounting for these there is a projected net loss in jobs due to the generalized macroeconomic impacts of the Bill.

A green economy would indeed create new jobs however; their creation would come at the expense of destroying millions more.

Furthermore, here in Maryland we actually know that these green jobs don’t pay very well. Of course, if you are a well-heeled academic whose livelihood is dependent upon spreading fear and alarmism in order to retain and increase government funding, the pay is good.

The Baltimore Zeese and Schade envision is nothing more than a Potemkin village.

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