Debunking More Green Jobs Mythology

by Paul Chesser, Heartland Institute Correspondent on June 25, 2009

The Beacon Hill Institute, which has analyzed several studies of greenhouse gas emissions caps by global warming alarmists in the states, and also conducted a cost-benefit analysis of the Western Climate Initiative, has today released its look at three green jobs studies (PDF). These expert economists reviewed previous studies by the United Nations Environment Programme (never trust anything produced by a program that adds “m-e” on the end — sure to be European), the Center for American Progress, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. BHI found, in part:

“Contrary to the claims made in these studies, we found that the green job initiatives reviewed in each actually causes greater harm than good to the American economy and will cause growth to slow,” reported Paul Bachman, Director of Research at the Beacon Hill Institute, one of the report’s authors….

The authors of the BHI critique identified a fundamental error in each of these studies, specifically “counting the creation of a green job as a benefit and rationale for its proposed program in and of itself.”

The BHI study also stresses that “Jobs ? green or otherwise ? are not benefits but are instead costs. If the green job is a net benefit it has to be because the value the job produces for consumers is greater than the cost of performing the job. This argument is never made in any of these three green jobs studies.”

The executive director of the Beacon Hill Institute and co-author, David G. Tuerck, went further, noting that “these studies are based on arbitrary assumptions and use faulty methodologies to create an unreliable forecast for the future of green jobs.”

BHI also did a case study of the effect of a cap-and-trade emissions reduction on the states — examining Indiana — and found that “previous reports did not take increased energy costs from a ‘cap and trade’ system into consideration when looking at job creation. In that case, BHI developed a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model and found that contrary to previous studies, Indiana would lose more than 18,000 jobs in 2009, up to nearly 29,000 job losses in 2011, and that real disposable income would be cut by nearly $1 billion in 2009 and close to $1.5 billion in 2011.”

Congressmen on the fence are likely inundated by the data and studies by now — will it overcome the Pelosi/Obama political arm-twisting? We’ll likely know tomorrow.

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