Chicago Green Jobs

False Assumptions in the “Seven Myths About Green Jobs” Report
March 24, 2009, 5:35 pm
Filed under: Green Job Research

Pop quiz: What is the only problem in the entire world that can’t be solved by free markets, according to the authors of the “Seven Myths About Green Jobs” report?

Answer: Valuing carbon emissions! That’s right, creating a cap and trade system to bring market principles to bear on climate-changing emissions totally won’t work as long as government plays any role in its creation. I have definitely noticed that markets are only efficient without pesky government regulation. I mean, look at the oil market – except for the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries and US government subsidies ($37 billion annually) it works completely without governmental interference!

As you can see, I’ve spent some more time with the “Seven Myths” report. I wrote last week about some of the false assumptions threading through the report, but there are so many that it deserves another look. Here are five more doozies:

Five Myths:

Myth 1. Green jobs advocates want to eliminate non-renewable energy sources.

Myth 2. There hasn’t been any public debate on making sweeping change in energy policy.

Myth 3. Free markets create only positive externalities; government policy creates only negative externalities.

Myth 4. The primary goal of shifting our energy supply to renewable sources is to create green jobs.

Myth 5. Because the goal is to create the right kind of jobs, that really means we’re talking about centralized economic planning.

And frankly, it’s a shame that the report is built on so many false assumptions because the authors do make several excellent points that deserve to be discussed more widely. Here are four of those truths:

Four Truths:

1. Transitioning to a green energy economy will destroy jobs as well as create them.

2. There is no agreed-upon definition of a green job.

3. Organizations that commission studies may bias results.

4. Ethanol sucks.

Despite these truths, this report should not be taken seriously by anyone trying to make serious policy decisions around transitioning the country to a renewable energy future. Tomorrow I’ll explain why.


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