Global environmental challenges
Do green jobs cannibalize other jobs?
President Obama has promised to help create millions of new green jobs, saying that doing so will spur the U.S. economy toward recovery — and has held out Spain as having “surged ahead” of the rest of the world by investing in renewable energy.
But a new study of Spain’s renewable energy initiatives has found that creating green jobs actually destroys jobs in other sectors — and most of the time doesn’t lead to permanent employment.
The study, which was directed by an economics professor at Juan Carlos University of Madrid, found that every green job created by the Spanish government destroyed an average of 2.2 other jobs, and that only 1 in 10 were permanent.
“Spain’s experience cited by President Obama as a model reveals with high confidence, by two different methods, that the U.S. should expect a loss of at least 2.2 jobs on average, or about 9 jobs lost for every 4 created,” the professor, Gabriel Calzada, wrote in an introduction to the study.
“The study’s results demonstrate how such ‘green jobs’ policy clearly hinders Spain’s way out of the current economic crisis, even while U.S. politicians insist that rushing into such a scheme will ease their own emergence from the turmoil,” Calzada wrote.
The Wall Street Journal, for example, notes on its Environmental Capital blog that the study is fuzzy on exactly which jobs were destroyed in Spain and suggests that Calzada, as the founder of a libertarian think tank, might not be completely objective.
Photo credit: Reuters/ Regis Duvignau (Wind turbines)