The New Green Economy?

by Iain Murray on January 21, 2009

I’ve spent a while crunching the numbers relating to energy and environment spending in the stimulus bill. The bill will spend about $80 billion on energy and environment, which can be broadly broken down into the following categorizations:

Electricity infrastructure/efficiency – $35.6 billion
Renewable projects – $11.95bn (mostly $8bn in loan guarantees and $2.4bn for clean coal)
Climate science/general energy academic research – $9.3bn!!! (including $1.9 for nuclear research)
EPA programs (Superfund cleanup etc) – $12.2bn
Other environmental (National Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management etc) – $10.899bn

So that means around $57 billion of the total is aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Thanks to Jonathan Tolman, we can work out how many jobs this will create. As he says, not every program gives a figure for created jobs, but about 5/8ths of them do. That $50 billion is supposed to create just under 1 million jobs, but many of these are in the traditional environmental areas of clean-up.

Of the $57 billion aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, just over half the expenditures have job numbers associated with them. Those total $32.3 billion, for a total of 353,000 jobs, at $91,000 per job. These are overwhelmingly related to the (much-needed) creation of a smart electricity grid, and improving the efficiency and weatherization of the housing stock, which will be a good thing even if global warming turns out not to be a problem*.

The actual “green energy/jobs” program, in the sense most people think about it of revolutionizing our energy provision, amounts to $6.4 billion and 70,000 jobs. There may well be more (there are no job figures attached to the renewable energy loan guarantees, for instance), but that remains so speculative that it was not even suggested in the Bill.

* This should not be taken as an endorsement of government expenditure on the programs.

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