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Team Obama: Stop Chasing Green Jobs Unicorn

Over and over again, Team Obama promised that green industries would create millions of jobs after he took office. His administration earmarked billions of dollars for investment in “clean” industry. But no matter how you define a “green” job, the numbers are falling far short of millions of jobs, to say the least. Reuters reports:

The wind industry, for example, has shed 10,000 jobs since 2009 even as the energy capacity of wind farms has nearly doubled, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Meanwhile, the oil and gas industry has added 75,000 jobs since Obama took office, according to Labor Department statistics. . . .

One problem is that, unlike other elements of the Recovery Act that injected money into the economy quickly, efforts to develop high-speed rail or electric-car batteries Obama also promoted could take a decade or longer to yield dividends.

Via Meadia is all for research and development and investment in green and clean technologies. We would love it if the coffee pot at the Mead Manor ran on energy from solar panels on the roof, if the editors’ massaging chairs were powered by clean, high-energy batteries, or if our interns didn’t have to pedal mechanical bikes down in the dark blogging basement to power the lights, computers and the executive air conditioning system.

But that dream is far off. Green and clean energy technology will at best take years to go mainstream and may never create the jobs Team Obama-Biden promised us. The administration should stop chasing this unicorn as the quick answer to our job woes.

The green jobs scam is a policy sleight of hand. If the administration has a green agenda, it needs to bring that out of the closet and wear it with pride. But the green agenda isn’t a jobs agenda. If anything, it is a n0-jobs agenda: it diverted money from economic stimulus that would have created jobs when we needed them in the depths of the recession to ‘invest’ in various schemes that, if they pay off at all, will pay off down the road.

The administration has consistently picked green over jobs — and tried to cover that up with the meaningless slogan “green jobs.” Not a good idea, and not a good political talking point for 2012.

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  • Corlyss

    BO et al. are Democrats. Everyone knows that Democrats aren’t judged on their results, only on their intentions. Their intentions are always good and squeaky clean. Results not good for anyone but them? No matter. They meant well. We are churlish to ask more.

  • stephen b

    As with most Democrat programs, good intentions are a smokescreen. Funding these projects was a way to siphon tax dollars to politically well connected donors.

  • MJB

    Reliable power is created from turning heat energy into mechanical energy. And right here is a tip from the world of thermodynamics: the hotter the fuel the less costly the power plant. That is the engineering reason atomic power plants will always to more expensive and conventional fossil burning plants.
    Wind farms — like sail boats — don’t move unless the wind blows. Solar cells don’t work if it’s dark or they are covered with snow.
    Of course the Obama administration knows these facts so I can only agree with stephen b.

  • SC Mike

    The Obami fail to understand that it’s the batteries. Until we solve that nut, wind and solar cannot serve baseload or mobility requirements.

  • Luke Lea

    Good news: “Climate Coverage Plummets 80% On Broadcast Networks From 2009 To 2011”

  • Toni

    As I’ve said before, Obama cares about nothing but his Deep Blue Enviro-Social Model.

  • JC Fremont

    This POTUS has never been anything but an opportunist, Chicago-style. He will only stop chasing the “green unicorn” if he thinks it’s to his advantage. My advice? Don’t hold your breath.

  • George Kaiser

    Team Obama is interested in green. The kind they stuff in their pockets.

  • Mark Buehner

    Why have we stopped hearing about how many green jobs Spain produced? Oh that’s right, Spain went broke…

  • Bob

    Thanks for telling us something we all already know. Where was this article in 2008?

  • Sherlock

    The political agenda for this administration will continue until we throw them out of the WH in November. Green energy, global warming, and all the other wacko stuff will end in the next election. I agree with the info in the article, but there is plenty more reasons to vote Obama and the clowns out.

  • sinz54

    Alan Blinder, a *Democrat* economist, admitted that “There are good reasons to create green jobs, but they have more to do with green than with jobs.”

    The jobs from green industry were a smokescreen. The original purpose of all this green industry was to fight global warming. That had been a priority of candidate Obama.

    But once Congress shot down cap-and-trade, Obama knew that he could no longer sell a titanic effort to fight global warming.

    So Obama started searching for a new rationale for the same green policies. Jobs was one excuse. The specter of China “cornering the market on green industry” was another excuse.

    Obama still wants to fight global warming. But now he can’t talk about it.

  • Pundit Pete

    Here is what the Bridge to Nowhere Tea Party thinks about Green Jobs and Green Energy.


    Check out their protest message posted in front of the Denver Federal Center Solar Park on March 10, 2012. Here is the story (click on the pic to enlarge).

  • dick west

    All true, but not far enough: it is not just chasing a unicorn; it chasing a totally political and partisan unicorn, by “investing”, what a joke that word is, in companies primarily linked to big Demo donors. This is green crony noncapitalism. It stinks to high heaven.

  • JohnK

    Luddites!!! Peole opposed the car when it first came out because they didn’t believe that anything could be more reliable than horses. Luddites !!

  • Bob Jones

    “MJB says:
    April 19, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Reliable power is created from turning heat energy into mechanical energy. And right here is a tip from the world of thermodynamics: the hotter the fuel the less costly the power plant. That is the engineering reason atomic power plants will always to more expensive and conventional fossil burning plants.”

    This makes no sense. Yes, thermodynamic efficiency of heat engines is greater the greater the reaction temperature (or the lower the rejection temperature), but that has nothing to do with the cost of nuclear plants. The efficiency of a nuke plant is essentially the same as the efficiency of a coal plant. The only downside of nuke is they don’t typically run in a combined cycle.

  • Frank Lyall

    Obama’s Green jobs farce looks to all the world, to be scheme for laundering public money, in service to Obama bundlers. Lets call this what it is, and that is National Socialism.

  • Jim

    This was always nonsense. Think about the people it takes to deliver one megawatt-hour of electricity from a gas turbine: seismic exploration, drilling, pipelines, power plant operations, etc. Or the same thing from coal. Then think about how many people it takes to deliver one megawatt-hour of wind or solar energy. There may be good reasons to invest in “green” energy, but jobs aren’t one of them.

  • eon

    SC Mike @4;

    You apparently fail to understand that batteries only store energy, they do not create it. Higher battery-storage density is only useful if you have a reliable source of power to charge it up with. Wind and solar are not reliable, and never will be. They will always require a backup power system to deal with the times (like calms and 12 hours of darkness out of 24) that they are not producing power. If you need a second power-supply echelon anyway, putting money into wind and solar is both foolish and irresponsible.

    John K. @15;

    The main opposition to the automobile came from the horse trades, such as farriers and harness-makers. Today, both trades still exist, they just do business with different clients.

    The actual Luddites were textile pieceworkers in England who opposed the introduction of the Jacquard/Vaucanson automatic looms in the textile trade. Their methods of opposition included burning down the mills. In today’s terms, they would be defined as political terrorists. Philosophically, we would call them primitivists, as they opposed progress in favor of “simplification”.

    Which puts them squarely in the corner of the modern environmentalists, who oppose nuclear power and hydroelectric power, the only actual and practical “carbon-neutral” power systems. They dream of a primitivist culture, with everyone living “gently on the land” in a Bronze Age (or perhaps actually Paleolithic) socialist agrarian state (Vegans only, please). With most of us (who survive) living in mud huts, and our “enlightened leaders’ living in castles.

    They are the real modern Luddites. Who see Man as a blight upon their “goddess”, Holy Mother Gaia. Except for their own, perfect selves, of course.



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