Debunking The Spanish Study on The Dire Result of Green Jobs Creation – Updated January 1, 2011

President Obama has framed part of his recovery plan around the creation of new jobs.  He has used Spain and other European countries’ green jobs creation endeavors as inspiration (not necessarily models).  However, a  study , entitled “Study of the effects on employment of public aid to renewable energy sources,” by researchers at Spain’s King Juan Carlos University questions whether “green jobs” are worth the public investments.  Lead author, Gabriel Calzada Alvarez, uses Spain’s investments in such jobs during the past decade as a case study to demonstrate that sustainable energy investment destroys jobs and the economy.  I think there are numerous flaws in Calzada’s study.  For one, he deviates from the traditional research peer-reviewed methodologies used to estimate jobs impacts, which tend to yield more accurate results.

In this update, we have Spain’s response to his claims, proof that his data was falsified, an explanation of how the renewable energy investment did not have the major negative impact on business that Calzada claims, that his analysis was too simplistic to be applied in any real world model,  and what most economists believe is the cause of Spain’s high unemployment rate.  I will also bring to light extremely relevant facts, that Calzada fails to mention or factor in to the study.  I will also review the US’s history and results from renewable energy investments.  That’s right we have been investing in renewable energy for years.   However, before I go into what is wrong with the study, lets review his conclusions.

Update: January 1, 2011 – Since I posted this analysis of the study and updated it, unemployment in Spain has risen to 20%.   I am updating this analysis to address this rising unemployment issue, as well as a few other questions raised by commenters opposed to green jobs.  See the update at the bottom of the post.

Key Points from The Study

The author argues that a huge price has been paid for Spain’s broad support to the construction and production of electricity through renewable sources and  says the U.S. will lose about nine jobs for every four green jobs created.  The study surmises that  only one out of ten green jobs has been created at the more permanent level of actual operation and maintenance of the renewable sources of electricity and that green jobs actually destroyed other types of jobs elsewhere in the economy. The author also claims that the programs creating green jobs also resulted in the destruction of nearly 110,000 jobs elsewhere in the economy, or 2.2 jobs destroyed for every “green job” created.  The study asserts that jobs were lost in metallurgy, non-metallic mining and food processing, beverage and tobacco. Calzada also says that Spanish citizens must cope with either an increase of electricity rates or increased taxes (and public deficit)–consumes enormous taxpayer resources, and the US is about to repeat the same mistake.  He also claims that green jobs programs chase energy intensive companies and industries away, and argues that sustainable energy is expensive, inefficient energy and not feasible.

Scary huh?….. I dunno.  Let’s back up a bit and take a look at the FACTS…all of them.

Let’s Look at How Calzada Reached His Conclusions

When you look at a complex issue, with many variables, and do not take into consideration those variables, you almost always inevitably end up with extremely skewed results.  For instance, applying Spain’s experience to the United States, might be a faulty approach because the US does not have the same incentive structures that were instituted by Spain.  Spanish incentives in support of Renewable Energy technologies has been in the form of Feed In Tariffs (FITs) that have reached levels up to $0.60/kWh of energy produced. This varies markedly from the typical U.S. approach of employing Producer Tax Credits (PTCs) to stimulate growth, which are typically on the order of $0.02/kWh.

Getting skewed results are even more likely if the numbers used are incorrect.  Brad Johnson of the Work Room has pointed out that the number of green jobs cited in the study as resulting from Spain’s renewable energy program are way off.  According to the United Nations, official estimates are 188,000, yet Calzada only lists green jobs 50,000 jobs ?? and does not explain why he uses those dramatically different numbers.

The study works from the assumption that public spending crowds out private spending.  Most economists believe, and history has proven that public spending increases demand for resources, not decrease it.  For example, after the Great Depression in the 1930′s spending to create roads, bridges and other infrastructure increased demand for labor, equipment and materials.   Green jobs should not crowd out other types of jobs because the public investments are supporting the private sector.  There is a great deal of historical data available that demonstrates that public investment in the nation’s physical economic infrastructure improves private-sector performance by raising average productivity and contributing to private-sector growth.

Looking at The Results of Past US Government Green Investment Programs and The Study’s Relevance

The study does not provide an analysis of the full range of the types of jobs that are being funding in the Recovery Act.  The study limits its analysis to just cleantech jobs that are focused on in Spain.  It ignores any inclusion of analysis of the jobs created as a result of jobs programs dealing with energy efficiency, conservation, light rail, or mass transit. Historically,  these types of public investments have demonstrated to pay a high rate of return in a relatively short period of time.   These jobs also create a large number of jobs in sectors of the economy that have been hit hard by the current crisis, such as manufacturing and construction.  So instead of causing a loss of jobs, they are likely to do what they have done in the past… creates jobs for those who do not have jobs.

(See National Renewable Energy Laboratory Response to the Report Study of the Effects on Employment of Public Aid to Renewable Energy Sources from King Juan Carlos University (Spain)

The majority of the public investment in renewable energy in the United states is going toward the private sector in the form of tax credits, loans and similar tools that are designed to encourage investment.  For example, the U.S. is establishing a Clean Energy Investment Agency.  So, how is that going to cause job loss and business retraction, when businesses are receiving assistance?

Public Investment in Renewable Energy in the Renewable Energy Sector in The US is Not New – It’s Been going On For Years

The United States has been investing in renewable energy since the late 1970s in the form of production tax credits and investment tax credits, at both the federal and state level. As a result, according to the Annual Energy Outlook 2009, the wind power industry has grown more than 25% a year and employs more people than the coal industry.  However, there is no data available that I’m aware of that shows that wind jobs impacted on coal jobs.  The Recovery Act extended these pre-existing business incentives.  The Energy Information Administration estimates that based on past performance, these public investments will create $24 billion in new private investment  and 32,000 new jobs sustained over the decade.  That is just the wind energy sector. There are similar projections for solar and geothermal power.  (See An Analysis of Three Myths Regarding The Green Jobs Programs of Spain and The US )

Gas, petroleum and coal also receive incentives from the government.  If you apply Calzada’s model using existing data from the Department of Energy to those industries, similar investment in coal would yield 18,500 jobs and  13,000 jobs would be gained by  natural gas and petroleum. This shows that you get more bang for your buck from wind power investments and that a shift to wind power would yield a net employment gain.

According to a recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, entitled “CleanTech Comes of Age”, when the government spends in a sector, private investments increase.  This has proven to be truth for biotech, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and …you guessed it…renewable energy.  These policies provide more certainty for investors leading to larger investments in renewable energy technologies. This assessment is supported by numerous private sector studies based on investment activity within the past ten years.

Spain’s Current High Employment Level is Still Lower Than It Was Before The Green Jobs Programs Were Implemented

It seems possible that Caldaza is not presenting the numbers in a relevant and accurate way.  In addition to using inaccurate numbers and omitting several sectors from his analysis, he fails to factor in that Spain historically has had very high unemployment rates since the restoration of democracy thirty years ago, (source: International Monetary Fund), while the US has not.   In fact, since the green jobs program has been initiated in Spain, unemployment has been  much lower than before it was put in place.  At the time the study was conducted, unemployment was lower then it was before the green jobs program was launched.  Before the green jobs program was put in place, going back to 1980, there are eighteen years when unemployment was higher in Spain than it is now, with unemployment rates ranging between (24% and 15%).  The highest years were  between 1993 and 1997 with employment ranging between  24% and 20%.  However  between 2001 and 2007, unemployment has ranged between 10.5 and 8.5%) still pretty high,but historically low for Spain.  The current US unemployment numbers at its highest levels in decades, is lower than Spain’s lowest unemployment numbers.  Let me state that, while I think the public investments in renewable energy helped to lower the unemployment rate,  I think much of the jobs growth in Spain was due to its real estate bubble.

Additionally, the author never identifies which jobs are destroyed by green jobs, or how that process of job destruction occurs.   To attribute recent unemployment numbers only to green jobs promotion, seems to me to be a questionable approach.  The study fails to establish any type of cause and effect.   Spain might have lost those jobs even if they did not have a green jobs program;  or it is possible that the green jobs program may have prevented even more jobs from being lost.

Two weeks ago, José María Roig Aldasoro, Regional Minister of Innovation, Enterprise and Employment Government of Navarre rebutted Calzada’s claims in a letter arguing that that green investment “has created wealth, employment and technological development” in Spain.  Navarre is a small region of Spain that is  well-known throughout the world for its development in renewable energies. After 20 years of development, 65% of the electrical energy consumed in Navarre originates from renewable energies.

Aldasoro breaks down the actual history of green job creation in Navarre:

– 1994: Unemployment at 12.8%, first wind farm erected.
– 1998: Unemployment at 10%, 100 installed megawatts of wind power.
– 2001: Unemployment at 6.8%, two R&D and worker-training centers are opened.
– 2007: Unemployment of 4.76%, total of 100 new renewable-energy companies created, representing 5% of total GDP.”

An article in The Brattleboro Reformer has pointed out a flaw in Calzada’s heavy use of the idea of “opportunity cost.”  Opportunity cost is the true cost of something is what you give up to get it— or as The Brattleboro Reformer  explains it…” that a dollar spent on green jobs is a dollar that can’t be consumed or invested by the private sector. Thus, a job that depends on consumption might disappear or not be created.” As the Brattlebore Reformer points out, this doesn’t apply in Spains’s case.

Spain’s Bursting Real Estate Bubble is Likely The Major Cause of Job Loss

Most economists attribute much of Spain’s job losses to the bursting of its real estate bubble. As recently as two years ago, Spain was creating a third of all new jobs in the European Union.  Most of these jobs were a result of its booming construction sector.    (Sound eerily familiar?) Real estate accounted for almost 18% of Spain’s gross domestic product last year, contributing to 3.6% annual growth. Once interest rates rose,  the housing bubble burst, and the jobs disappeared.   Canada, the UK, Ireland, and the US also experienced a bursting of their real estate bubble which led to rising unemployment.    If green jobs caused job losses in Spain and not the real estate bubble bursting as occurred in the US, the UK, Canada and other places, then he needs to explain how Spain is different than other countries with real estate bubbles that burst, and how green job creation impacts the real estate and construction industries that initially contributed to job growth.     He does not do that.  Economists predicted the outcomes of these real estate bubbles a few years ago.  None of them cited green jobs policy as a major factor.

The Two-Tiered Labor Market Is a Secondary Cause of Job Loss in Spain

Another cause of the job losses in Spain is its two-tiered labor market.   Young people in  Spain have fixed term contracts, so it’s easy to fire them, whereas older people have contracts worded so that it is very difficult to fire them.  As a result, one in three adults under 25 are unemployed.    These short-term contract legalities and their impact on firing was not addressed in Calzada’s study, however, a number of economists have cited it as a factor in the job losses.

No Additional Taxes Were Levied Against Business To Finance The Green Jobs Program

Keith Johnson, lead writer of  The Wall Street Journal Blog, Environmental Capital points out that that Spain’s support for renewable energy came out of existing tax revenues and that the Spanish government has reduced corporate income-tax rates (Source: KPMG), most recently this past January.  While renewable energy spending might have prevented spending in other areas, the author does not explain how government spending prevented or discouraged industry from spending.  He also explains that the Study doesn’t actually identify those jobs allegedly destroyed by renewable-energy spending, but simply tells you what the Spanish government is spending.

In in the comments below, Nuno Cardoso pointed out another issue not previously raised.“For all the renewable energy sources (solar, wind, wave), the initial investment is upwards of 95% of the total costs, whereas maintenance and operational costs are residual. In this respect, renewables are similar to nuclear power, and unlike coal or oil-based power plants, where a large portion of the costs is the fuel itself. This explains much of the enormous costs per green job: the benefits for the investing country only start to become visible many years after the investment has been made. Also, was the value of the produced energy, being the primary goal of the investment, taken into account?  Another thing that certainly wasn’t mentioned in the study was that Spain reached a peak of 40% in wind power this last March.

An Example Of Green Jobs Lowering Unemployment Rates

If you look at Germany’s efforts with using renewable energy investment to create jobs, renewable energy jobs in Germany shot up to 249,300 in 2007, almost double the 160,500 green jobs in Germany in 2004. This was due to massive investment in the renewable sector.  There are over countries in Europe, in addition to Germany that have seen employment growth as a result of investment in renewable energy.  Calzada does not even acknowledge them, so it is not surprising that he provides no comparison of their green jobs programs, to Spain’s.  Nor does he explain why those countries did not lose jobs as a result of investment in renewable energy.

Eternal Hope on the Conservatism is Dead blog, raises three additional salient points: While his blog has an obvious anti-conservative slant,  I think the points he raises are valid.

“1. The problem with their entire line of reasoning here is that they are caught in short-term thinking as opposed to long-term thinking. In the short term, coal may well be the best alternative.  But in the long term, given the alarming studies that show that man-made global warming is a major problem, we can’t afford not to switch to a carbon neutral economy.  So, the solution here is clear — combine antipoverty problems with efforts to become carbon neutral.”

2. The study fails to take into consideration the benefits that would happen when renewable energy is brought into the equation.

3. The study then suggests that renewable energy is subject to boom and bust. But the problems with Spain’s boom and bust cycles have nothing to do with renewable energy in and of itself, but with the boom and bust mentality that was part of the Bush years.    If the US government creates a sound financial basis for renewable growth that is not based on out of control debt and which rewards people who live within their means, then we can avoid the problems of boom and bust that have plagued previous efforts.”

Who is Calzada – His Conclusions Were Reached Before The Study Was Conducted

Let look at the author of the study.  Who is Calzada.  Gabriel Calzada is a founding member of the Prague Network, an international grouping of institutions aimed at countering panic connected with global warming.  He is also a fellow at the Centre for the New Europe, a Brussels-based libertarian think tank that in recent years has accepted funding from ExxonMobil.  ExxonMobil has a history of funding groups that have misrepresented the science of climate change by outright denial of the evidence.   According to a study conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists in 2007, ExxonMobil had spent over $16 million to fund climate change skeptic groups as part of a “tobacco-like disinformation campaign on global warming science.” They have continued to channel money to these groups.  Since the study was publish, Calzada has become a popular speaker at the events sponsored by these groups and has appeared frequently on Cable news shows in which the hosts and producers are opposed to green jobs.  He has yet to appear on any show that has made any inquiry about his methodology.

Calzada is also the founder and president of the Fundacion Juan de Mariana, another libertarian think tank.   The libertarian movement in  Spain does not believe in taxes, so it is my guess that they would not support many programs paid for with tax dollars.  Calzada is also an admitted climate change skeptic and recently spoke at the International Conference on Climate Change (2009) hosted by the conservative think tank, the Heartland Institute. The Heartland Institute is another well-known hub of climate science denial. This year’s conference was its second effort on climate change, and attracted representatives from conservative and free enterprise groups around the world; many of their members and supporters deny climate change and work aggressively against renewable energy and environmental endeavors.  A large number of the attendees also came from bodies funded by ExxonMobil and other fossil-fuel companies.  Other big oil funded groups that have promoted the study include: The Institute for Energy Research (IER), Americans for Prosperity, and the American Energy Alliance (AEA),

In a recent interview, (in Spanish)  Calzada asserts that scientists are deeply divided as to the cause of global warming.  He claims  that solar and water vapor activity from the earth have a large impact on global warming and that human activity is minor in comparison.  He questions if this small creation of ‘gases’ by human activity would have an impact compared to other natural activity.  He also does not believe in the kyoto protocol and claims that the green economy is a way to to ‘ration’ economic activity. My understanding is that the vast majority of scientists (specifically those not paid by oil companies) are not divided over the causes of global warming.

A Strange Target Audience

Something else that stood out is that Calzada wrote the study to specifically speak to the US.    That is an odd choice of audience to me.  It seems that this cautionary tale would normally apply to Spain and its policy makers–speaking to their issues, so that they could perhaps adjust course by reshaping their energy policy.  As we speak, Spain is investing even more money into green programs, as part of their stimulus. If Calzada truly intended to to use this case study to warn others, why not also warn other countries in the European Union,  of which Spain is a part of; or Canada and China, who are also poised to start a green initiative.

Considering Calzada’s strong views against the realities of fossil fuels and climate change,  his affiliations with groups who are known for denying climate change, his willingness to accept funding from an organization who is notorious for funding studies to serve as propaganda, and his audience focus,  it would be wise to at least closely examine and question the conclusions he reaches.    This background would explain why Calzada failed to address factors that other economists considered.  If he reached his conclusion before doing the study, there would be no reason to address issues like cause and effect.  Considering all of the above, I think Calzada has serious credibility issues.

So while it is possible that Spain’s investment in green jobs has cost it twice as many jobs in non-green sectors, we have yet to see a study that provides the empirical data to prove it.   If this is true, we need to know it, so we can figure out where the Spanish went wrong and identify alternative solutions.   Calzada did neither.  Since he does not recognize that there is a climate crisis or that fossil fuels  will eventually run out,  he seems to take short-term view in his approach to conducting the study.    With so much data proving otherwise and so much at stake, I do not think that we have the luxury of taking a  possibly politically motivated, incomplete, study seriously.

I do not think the purpose of the study was to point out flaws in Spain’s economic policy, but to raise doubt and shut down support for similar policies in the US.   The oil industry and climate deniers swill continue to use this study for nefarious purposed and others will pop up to lend credence to these theories.  The media will continue to treat these studies seriously without investigating the credibility of the claims made.

So now that we know that this likely flawed propaganda designed to protect the financial interests of the oil companies and possibly to support the views of Spain’s Libertarian movement, as well as those who deny climate change, lets get back to the work of protecting the environment,  creating renewable forms of energy, and creating green jobs.

UPDATE: January 1, 2011. Since I posted this analysis of the study, unemployment in Spain has risen to 20%.  The is no refuting those unemployment figures. They are horrible. However, unfortunately, they are not the worse Spain has experienced.  In most instances, before renewable energy programs were put in place,  Spain had even higher unemployment going as high as 24.5 % on a number of occasions. Historically, Spain has high unemployment. In good years, Spain has had 10.5% unemployment.Unemployment actually went down for a long time when Spain implemented their green energy programs. That changed when the global economical crisis and the the real estate bubble hit that those opposed to renewable energy like to ignore as being a factor.

Unfortunately, I anticipate that the unemployment rate in Spain will get worse. Not necessarily, because of green jobs, but likely for the same reasons other countries around the world are experiencing record high unemployment. There is a global economic recession going on. As far is I know, with the exception of Brazil, China, India, Turkey and a few others, most countries are seeing record high unemployment. In many instances, most economists lay some of the blame on the banking debacle and in some countries like Spain, Ireland, The United States and Canada, large real estate bubbles.

Using Spain as the oil industry’s whipping boy, and the right’s political punching bag, does not address any of the real major economic issues in Spain–nor tie them to green jobs initiatives. Even if the study was based on facts (which it has been proven time and again not to be), and not financed by the oil industry, the people who have written comments here against green jobs have not explained why Spain having one of the largest real state bubbles ever, and being a victim of that bubble, like many countries of the banking scandal, has nothing to do with the loss of jobs there. Ireland, a country that has not had an aggressive green energy program, also had a huge real estate bubble, and one of the results was not surprisingly, a tremendously high unemployment rate. I can’t imagine that green jobs caused that economic crisis as well, or that green jobs is the cause of the global economic crisis. If it is not, than why do those opposed to renewable energy  see it as the cause of the economic crisis in Spain, which experienced some of the same economic stressors as other distressed countries.

Most countries with real estate bubbles, experience job losses when the bubble pops.  The bigger the real estate bubble, the larger number of job losses. Our country has seen a large number of job losses as well. Is this a result of green jobs as well and the real estate bubble and the financial industry simply a whipping boy for renewable energy advocates.

There may be problems with renewable energy, but using oil industry supplied talking points and their political allies, designed to pit people against each other who should be working together to climb out of this mess, is not the same as addressing facts. They have people so wound up and angry, I’m beginning to think that many people no longer know how to think critically when it comes to politics; and that if you want your industry protected from regulation or want to beat back a potential competitor, simply politicize issues that in the past were never political. Then, get the unsuspecting to unknowingly do your dirty work.

I noticed that there are a few extremely relevant questions that those opposed to renewable energy never address.

  • Why did he use falsified numbers in the study?
  • Why was the study not peer reviewed like most studies?
  • Why not address the biggest real estate bubble ever as an economic issue in what is supposed to be an economic study?
  • Oil and gas are among the most subsidized industries, why does that not evoke the same degree of anger and opposition?

When these questions are raised, in most instances  those opposed to renewable energy do not respond,or another oil industry provided talking point is thrown out.  As you will see below in the comments section.

I welcome an analytical discourse on this issue, but those opposed to renewable energy seem incapable of having one thus far. Ironically, there are a number of issues that should be raised about renewable energy, but the only ones addressing them are supporters.

Again, green jobs may be the cause of Spain economic problems, but at this time, there has been no scientific study released that proves it, or even explains how the process of green jobs causing unemployment takes place;  high unemployment as a factor, on its own, in a country that historically has high unemployment (even during good times), is not necessarily proof that the cause of unemployment is green jobs.

© 2009 – 2011, Tracey de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

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Author: Tracey de Morsella (323 Articles)

Tracey de Morsella started her career working as an editor for US Technology Magazine. She used that experience to launch Delaware Valley Network, a publication for professionals in the Greater Philadelphia area. Years later, she used the contacts and resources she acquired to work in executive search specializing in technical and diversity recruitment. She has conducted recruitment training seminars for Wachovia Bank, the Department of Interior and the US Postal Service. During this time, she also created a diversity portal called The Multicultural Advantage and published the Diversity Recruitment Advertising Toolkit, a directory of recruiting resources for human resources professionals. Her career and recruitment articles have appeared in numerous publications and web portals including Woman Engineer Magazine, Monster.com, About.com Job Search Channel, Workplace Diversity Magazine, Society for Human Resource Management web site, NSBE Engineering Magazine, HR.com, and Human Resource Consultants Association Newsletter. Her work with technology professionals drew her to pursuing training and work in web development, which led to a stint at Merrill Lynch as an Intranet Manager. In March, she decided to combine her technical and career management expertise with her passion for the environment, and with her husband, launched The Green Economy Post, a blog providing green career information and covering the impact of the environment, sustainable building, cleantech and renewable energy on the US economy. Her sustainability articles have appeared on Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation, Chem.Info,FastCompany and CleanTechies.

  • trane

    This doesn’t debunk anything that is said, it just deflects your focus to something else. “Short term”, impacts the economy immediately. These stats from Spain have been collected sense 1997. How long do we have to wait before seeing a positive impact. Don’t rule out the economic implications just because he doesn’t believe in Global Warming. I mean you have to give it to him. According to the statistics the Earth has been cooling sense 2001. Not to mention when you think about the fact that a volcano pollutes the earth more with one eruption than all of mankind’s pollution combined. Industrial revolution- 100+ years of pollution is a speck of sand in the time the Earth as existed. No way we have effected the environment that quickly. Maybe people should look at the sun and what stars do as they age. They expand and in our stars case cool a bit. eventually our sun will swallow up the earth. That will be true global warming.

  • trane

    If we are not suppose to believe the study because of his affiliations then why are we suppose to believe the references that are made that argue against the study. Am I suppose to read Conservatism is Dead blogger and think that they are anything less than a leftist Liberal and they don’t have an agenda. Bologna.

    • http://greeneconomypost.com Tracey de Morsella

      That is a good point. Conservatism is dead is obviously biased, however he is not presenting his writings as unbiased scientific opinion based on empirical data and as far as I know, the Wall Street Journal, owned by Rupert Murdock, not a haven of lefties. Even Reuters has questioned the legitimacy of the study. Fund and support from ExxonMobil and affiliations with organizations that deny climate change and peak oil as well as promote the use oil is a legitimate reason to question the validity of a study presenting itself as factually based and not simply opinion. This particularly true since we know that oil companies and organizations who focus on deny climate change have a habit of funding fake studies designed to mislead the public

  • Pingback: About those 'green jobs'... - Tech Support Forums - TechIMO.com

  • Theodore Gouverneur LePlerche IV

    A solid explanation of why the study is so fallacious! In that it stems from a think tank funded by Exxon, it’s pretty obvious that it and the commentors on this blog who support the study, are biased. To say that the counter explanation of the study is biased is complete floof!

    Get over it Exxon and those who support you! You’re days are numbered!

  • Theresa

    Who is funding your efforts? Am I to suppose it is someone or some entity that neither oposes nor supports the notion of Global Warming?!?! What is the difference? Can’t you just look at the facts? They stand on their own… You wouldn’t have started your “slap down” with the affiliation angle if you could refute the facts…. Do you think we are all that shallow and ignorant? Think again. – Maybe he is affiliated with those that don’t believe in global warming because he is smart and doesn’t support ridiculous, conclusions based on models that have been PROVEN to be wrong time and time again. It may have been ok to support them when the idea of Global Warming was first being tossed around, but if you STILL believe, you are either uninformed, a moron, or (happily) brainwashed!
    Appling your argument to the following scenario may give your readership a better understanding of your tactics:
    - in 1492 two men go to visit the king to ask for “Stimulus Funding”
    - the first man wants to fund the “Save Our Water” campaign… the money will go to filling and deploying sandbags at the edge of the earth to stop the ocean from running off into space.
    - the second man (some called him Christopher) wanted the money to pay for a ship and crew to sail past the horizon and back, proving the world was not flat.
    - YOU as the king’s completely faithful servant… (who always believes what he is told without question by those with money and influence, and does what it takes to stay in favor and employed)… arrogantly state that the “Stimulus Funding” should to go to the “Save Our Water” campaign…
    - YOU further state, “Chris has been seen reading, and heard speaking favorably about Marco Polo and we all know HE doesn’t believe the earth is flat!
    Get the Picture?!?! Now let’s take it one step further…..
    - the “Save Our Water” campaign guy has convinced nearly everyone that the earth will soon be without any water except that which falls in the form of rain.
    - YOU recommend that the king enact legislation that establishes “CAP-and-TRADE” on OCEAN USAGE, sighting that the motion of a ship causes water to spill over the side of the earth
    - now every ship owner will get an allowance for ocean usage… if they need more time on the ocean, they will either have to buy someone else’s unused/unwanted allowance, or pay hefty fines for the unauthorized additional “spillage.”
    How about that Picture?!?! ….. Thank goodness the king was wise enough to consider other perspectives without the clouded judgment based on affiliations! The people would have been paying through the nose for imported goods as ship owners passed along the cost of CAP-and-TRADE. Over time people wouldn’t be able to afford the price of imports and the ship owners would begin to lose money. Exports would cost more for foreign customers who would also shrink in number. Soon there would be a smaller fleet of ships, less wealth would be generated, the agricultural and textile revolution would be stopped dead in their tracks, and the country would go into recession……
    GET THE PICTURE ?!?!?!

    @admin – Type your comment here…

    • http://greeneconomypost.com Tracey de Morsella

      I think looking at facts is extremely important as well. No one is funding my effort. However, if they were, I would be open about it. Affiliations should not be off the table when important studies are published. Most studies publicize their affiliations. Since ExxonMobil has a history of backing phony studies, I think that is relevant. Your distaste for Obama in your sarcastic reference to him as the King, indicates to me that perhaps facts are not as relevant to you as proving him wrong. That is your prerogative, but it does not lend itself real analytical discourse. If I am wrong about the real estate bubble bursting being a major cause of the massive loss of jobs, as what happened with other real estate bubbles bursting, in the US, Canada, and the UK, I would be interested in knowing why. This study makes conclusions without explaining any cause and effect, not addressing other relavant studies. Have you read the study?

      Regarding cap and trade, I believe you are mistaken when you say that I advocate the Obama Administration using it. I reviewed my post, and I do not see anything about that in it, nor is there even much on this site about it. In fact, I have serious concerns about cap and trade. Unfortunately, the only fact you raised regarding my analysis of the study is that you dislike Obama. In addition to actually reading his study, I suggest you actually read my critique as well.

  • http://roadrunner Mike

    Get a Grip Spain has a 14.2 pct unemployment rate. Green won’t work

    • http://greeneconomypost.com Tracey de Morsella

      Hey Mike:

      Thanks for responding and pointing out Spain’s current unemployment rate. It helps to further prove my point. As a result of your comment, I have added more detail about Spain’s unemployment rates since 1980 to the post. Since the green jobs program has been initiated, unemployment has been much lower than before it was put in place. There are eighteen years when the unemployment rate has been higher- ranging between 15% and 24% You advised me to “get a grip”, however, this goes so far beyond ideology. I think questioning all the studies, both those supporting green jobs and those opposed is imperative if we are to solve some our most challenging problems. I do not simply support studies that regurgitate what I believe.

      So, I am going to give you some advice. Review the facts — If you are interested in knowing the truth really look at them. Don’t feel threatened if you find out something that does not support what you believe. It does not necessarily mean you are wrong. As I said, I believe the increase in unemployment should be examined an economist without an axe to grind who is willing to connect the dots.

      Ironically, the lowest years of unemployment are when the green jobs programs have been in place. Between 2001 and 2007, unemployment has ranged between 10.5 and 8.5%. 14.2% unemployment might be high to us, however, the highest years of unemployment were between 1993 and 1997 with employment ranging between 24% and 20%. Even now, 14.2% is one of the lowest unemployment rates in 30 years. Before the green jobs program, the unemployment rate was higher, so you helped to so that there could be evidence that green jobs did mitigate the unemployment rate. However, instead of twisting the truth to fit my beliefs, I must point out that it is likely the real estate boom was a major factor with regard to the lower unemployment rates up until the bubble bursting.

      With the climate in trouble and the issues of peak oil confront us, I can not imagine why someone would be against green job growth, but so be it. That is your stance. However, citing a historically low unemployment level has not proved your point.

      • Chandan

        For those who think climate change is nothing but an illusion, what do you have to say about the asian brown cloud which was all over south asia, the ozone hole, the rising sea level, the melting glaciers and so much more……… You think a volcano can bring about a brown cloud over 10 nations????? Guys WAKE UP……… Climate change is here……… Why was it that those companies which “talked” and “did” something about sustainability (which again includes environment and climate change) were the ones who did better than those in this time time of economic down turn……….

        And for those who still dont agree with me……… Oil, gas, coal is all a limited source of energy…. you cant deny that now!!! So why not start early and look for other sources of energy… Or you want the world to come to a standstill and then probably think about all that has been happening…

  • Nuno Cardoso

    There is an additional point about Mr. Calzada’s study which has not been mentioned and which I believe is crucial to understand the magnitude of the investments made in Spain throughout the last 10 years: for all the renewable energy sources (solar, wind, wave), the initial investment is upwards of 95% of the total costs, whereas maintenance and operational costs are residual. In this respect renewables are similar to nuclear power, and unlike coal or oil-based power plants, where a large portion of the costs is the fuel itself. This explains much of the enormous costs per green job: the benefits for the investing country only start to become visible many years after the investment has been made. Also, was the value of the produced energy, being the primary goal of the investment, taken into account?
    Another thing that certainly wasn’t mentioned in the study was that Spain reached a peak of 40% in wind power this last March. I wonder how many barrels of oil weren’t imported as a result of that?

  • http://greeneconomypost.com Tracey de Morsella

    I think this is an extremely important issue that you raise, Numo. It is like Calzada is arguing that is it wrong to invest in an interstate highway system, or bridges, rail system, postal system or electric grid.

  • http://DrThomasHo.com Thomas Ho

    @Nuno Cardoso – While you’re WAITING all those years for your return on investment, you’ll likely go bust. That’s why I think that green jobs could conceivably be the next source of financial crisis just like the “sub prime mortgages” which seemed like the “right” thing to do when they were done!

    • http://greeneconomypost.com Tracey de Morsella

      Thomas:

      Based on your response, I guess you have facts detailing that there is no return or little return on investment. Please share them with us. Those facts are not in the study and I have seen numbers that contradict this premise. Discovering today that the study uses falsified numbers, leads me to serious doubt all the numbers in the study, since re already knew, he misrepresented Spain’s tax policy.

      As an educated man, I’m sure you are aware that comparing the subprime mortgage crisis to the policy of investing in renewable energies is like comparing apples to black holes. The only thing they have in common is that they are both used as political tools to block policies.

      A better comparison might be to compare the policy of renewable energy investments to the investments to building the Interstate in the US, or a dam, or a rail line, etc. A large initial investment is required and most of the returns on those investments are expected in the long term. However, there is data supporting the fact that Spain is getting a return on their investment. Also when private utility companies invest in a wind farm, they have done the numbers and know that they are extremely likely to get a return on their investment. Please point of to evidence that Spain is not getting a return on their investment. If the ROI is bad, please site some statistics, I’m there are a large number of wind energy investors who would like to see that data.

      Let move beyond political rhetoric and repeated sound bits and focus on the facts. If the facts support your claim, I’m open to acknowledging those facts and the ramifications of those revelations

      Below are some US Return on Taxpayer investment Facts

      –the $1.2 billion spent on nuclear energy in 2007 led to zero megawatts (MW) installed.
      –the $3 billion spent on coal led to about 1,400 MW installed (without carbon reduction or storage, since that is not yet commercially viable).
      –the $800 million spent on renewables (not including hydro) in 2007 led to about 6,000 MW installed. Of that, the $724 million provided to wind led to over 5,200 MW of new, zero-emissions, fuel-free generating capacity—35% of the ENTIRE new power generating capacity added in the country that year.

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  • Steven

    The real thing that’s missing from this post is an integration of net energy/EROI analysis…without an understanding of this, the author is missing the energy deficits of green resources. No matter how you slice them, they are more expensive and have a lower net energy return. That’s ok, if you’re willing to pay that price to ameliorate climate change (and I agree that we should), but let’s call it what it is and be honest about it, please.

    SCC

    oh yes, and here’s a link with some resources to check out net energy/EROI…

    http://netenergy.theoildrum.com/

    Cheers,
    SCC

    • http://greeneconomypost.com chris

      Steven,

      You bring up a good point and I have been preparing to address precisely this point in a future post on the subject. I am on many peak oil and energy lists and have had long discussions about this very important and poorly understood metric. The measurment of Energy Return on Energy Invested (often refered to as ERoEI as well as EROI) of any energy producing (or energy storage technology for that matter) is very important metric for evaluating the ultimate practicality of the energy source — which in fact may not be a “source” at all, but rather a sink. For example I have seen studies showing how corn ethanol actually consumes more fossil energy to produce the ethanol than can be recovered by burning it in an engine.

      Clearly if a given energy source has a marginal or negative ERoEI it is not an energy source at all, but is actually an energy sink disguised as an energy source. No energy source available to us — that is within out foreseeable technological grasp and planetary resource base comes close to the ERoEI of oil during its boom years say three or four decades ago. Some of the fabled gusher wells had an ERoEI of more than 30 to 1… when the ghawar in Saudi Arabia — the mother of all oil fields on planet earth was first discovered in 1948 and first developed in 1951 it gushed out huge volumes of net energy in the form of black gold.

      By the way I bring up the discussion of peak oil in some detail and the imperative to urgently begin building out a new energy infrastructure that does not depend on fossil energy on my blog post: The US Needs a Green Energy Marshall Plan Now!

      ERoEI is falling for every fossil energy source. This is a key fact to understand the larger picture. The ERoEI of complex very tough to drill for — arctic and deep off shore locations — is far below that of the net returns that the gusher mega fields produced. The same is true for coal by the way.. The high energy quality anthracite coal is mostly gone and poorer quality brown coal is increasingly being mined at greater and greater energy costs and less and less energy return. When I hear people tell me that America is the Saudi Arabia of oil shale — for example — that we have plenty of fuel locked up in the shale — I ask them how this oil-like liquid would be unlocked from this rock? And how much energy it would take in order to accomplish this? Same question posed for the Canadian and Orinoco tar sands? What is the ERoEI and for nuclear power advocates. What is the total end to end ERoEI for those systems.

      The reason I have focused on the ERoEI of fossil and nuclear energy sources is intentional. And that is because very broad measurements of the Energy Inputs are applied by some widely quoted ERoEI studies of wind and solar energy… often including many very in-direct energy costs in the analysis. But this same rigour is not used to produce competing ERoEI figures for coal for example, which should include in its ERoEI budget all of the energy that will be required for pollution remediation for example. How much energy to restore that flattened moutnain and all those destroyed watersheds?

      ERoEI is a vital an important tool to understand an energy system, but how the ERoEI was derived and arrived at, what assumptions went into calculating it, what was put in and what conversely was left out have a huge impact on its final figure. Thus for example the ERoEI of wind will vary drastically depending on who you ask. With ERoEI there are several levels. Level one looks at just the direct energy costs and returns for some system — and ignores the many tangental energy costs such as the energy needed by the workers in the factories to make the wind mill blades. This in my opinion is the better way of measuring ERoEI, at least for the quick and dirty comparisons of competing energy sources.

      In these terms the ERoEI of both wind and solar are quite respectable.

      In general with ERoEI one has to be very careful and make sure that the ERoEI of two different energy sources were produced using similar types of inputs and assumptions. If not it is comparing apples to oranges.

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  • http://myspace.com/dhopec Zane A

    Thankyou very much Tracey De Morsella. This resource has been very useful, I have just written a reply to someone from the ‘Australian Skeptics party’ here in Newcastle, Australia, the worlds biggest coal port.

    Australia has excellent wind and solar resource but pathertic uptake. We have just 1.5GW of wind and prob less than 200MW of solar in our whole country of 20 million people.

    It is easy for Calzera’s australian counterparts to spin a web of bullshit about how green energy doesnt work because here in Australia we don’t have the thousands of wind turbines that you do in europe.

    All of the Calzera supporters clearly havent read the letter by Jose Aldasoro from the gobierno de navarra or they would cut the crap and stop trying to deny the reality of green jobs in spain. Whose word is worth more: Calzera’s or Aldasoro’s? One is a hack academic/ ideologue, the other actually implements the successful job creation policies.

  • http://greeneconomypost.com Tracey de Morsella

    @Zane A
    Hi Zane:

    It is encouraging to see people like yourself responding positively to my analysis and using it to counteract the propaganda paid for by Exxon. The supporters of this study have read the response, but they do not want renewable energy to succeed. I think they have been conditioned to see it as a tree hugging, left wing threat to their free market views. Ironically, the private sector is making lots of money in this arena.

  • http://www.sandpipercreative.com Barbara Passero

    @Theresa – Hi Theresa,

    I believe that employees of Big Oil and other industries write these convoluted arguments and negative opinions. Under the cloak of the web, they can remain anonymous yet dangerous as they go around devaluing the need for new policies and programs. Big Oil and conservatives in Congress are trying their hardest to change the new energy bill into a boom for oil and gas. Just what we need. A faster slide into dclimate devastation. I know that companies pay people to blog for them; the companies probably furnish them with

  • http://www.sandpipercreative.com Barbara Passero

    Hi again.

    These naysayers may be arguing just to argue (“Devil’s Advocate), in denial, or working for or running companies that would lose money. Consciences seem certainly lacking these days. It’s hard to believe that these people are risking their families’ welfare to gain money.

    Didn’t large areas of Spain burn recently because of drought? The storms that hit India yesterday were stronger than usual. Island countries in the Pacific are concerned about disappearing altogether. Floodplain maps in the northeastern U.S. are showing that this area faces higher risks from coastal flooding.

    • http://greeneconomypost.com Tracey de Morsella

      Barbara: Thanks for raising extremely releavant point. Unfortunately, those opposed to green jobs, seem to need to ignore all relevant factors except green jobs. Go figure?

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  • Henry chance

    So now Spain is at 18.1% unemployment. It is getting worse. Let’s conclude the green fiasco is a failure. It creates promisesof jobs. it doesn’t create growth.

    • http://greeneconomypost.com Tracey

      Oh Henry:

      I get that you have a bias against green jobs. Except for oil executives, I really do not understand how that could be true of average citizens, other then the money put to brand them as negative is working. I accept that this is a fact. I would love to discuss this with you, but you ignored the facts and obviously did not read the article nor check any of the sources. 1. Spain has high unemployment all of the time. 2. Spain has just experienced a humongous bursting of its real estate bubble and many jobs lost are a result of that. 3. The US has been investing in clean energy for decades with positive results.4. The numbers used in the “study” are incorrect and changed to support conclusions made before he wrote his paper that was funded by ExxonMobil.

      However, I realize you are frustrated and angered by the concept of green jobs and posted this comment most likely as a form of catharsis, not to debate any facts.

  • Jay Davis

    So then folks, we are all those green jobs? Still waiting…

    We have 17.2% unemployment int he US now if you really add things up and how long are we going to wait for crazily expensive jobs that won’t be here in the next year or two…maybe 10…Spain is not stupid…there needs to be an ROI and it’s not there economically sorry…the Spaniards figured this out…but we americans know better.

    Obama just had a jobs summit the other day because he has no ideas…green jobs are sadly not here…nice concept…but not practical unless you are an ideologue.

    • http://greeneconomypost.com Tracey de Morsella

      Hi Jay:

      I apologize for not responding before now. I have a response to your inquiry.

  • http://la-ink-tattoo-pictures.info Tina

    Nothing can be fixed overnight. I think efforts being exerted on this green endeavor will be worth the wait. Someone needs to act and that someone need to act now.

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    • http://greeneconomypost.com Tracey de Morsella

      Well put –Tina

  • dachpy arvile

    April 2010 passed and Spain topped 20% unemployment–according to CNN. Leadership in Spain have said that this is the peak and that the numbers should start going down. That was several months ago.

    As of July 2010 the numbers stayed at 20% unemployment. As of November 2010 the numbers climbed to 20.2%. Where is the recovery? Where are the promised jobs in their new green economy?

  • http://greeneconomypost.com Tracey de Morsella

    Dachpy
    There is no refuting those unemployment figures. They are horrible. However, unfortunately, they are not the worse Spain has experienced. Surprisingly, before renewable energy programs were put in place, Spain experienced extremely high unemployment. Historically, Spain has always had high unemployment. In good years, Spain has has 10.5% unemployment, and there have been a number of years, before the green jobs programs were in place, when Spain had unemployment as high as 24.5%. Unemployment actually went down for a long time when Spain implemented their green energy programs ( do not think it is related – there was a real estate bubble). That changed when the global economical crisis and the the real estate bubble hit, that those opposed to renewable energy like to ignore as being a factor.

    Unfortunately, I anticipate that the unemployment rate in Spain will get worse. Not necessarily because of green jobs, but likely for the same reasons other countries around the world are experiencing record high unemployment. There is a global economic recession going on. As far is I know, with the exception of Brazil, China, India, Turkey and a few others, most countries are seeing record high unemployment. In many instances, most economists lay some of the blame on the banking debacle and in some countries like Spain, Ireland, The United States and Canada, large real estate bubbles.

    Using Spain as the oil industry’s whipping boy, and the right’s political punching bag does not address any of the real major economic issues in Spain. Even if the study was based on facts, (which it has been proven time and again not to be), and not financed by the oil industry, the people who have left comments here against green jobs have not explained why Spain having one of the largest real state bubbles ever and being a victim like many countries of the banking scandal has nothing to do with the loss of jobs there. Ireland, a country that has not had an aggressive green energy program, also had a huge real estate bubble, and one of the results was not surprisingly, a tremendously high unemployment rate. I can’t imagine that green jobs caused that as well, or that green jobs is the cause of the global economic crisis. If green jobs is not the cause of the global economic crisis, than why is it only the cause of the economic crisis in Spain, a country that experienced some of the same economic stressors as other distressed countries?

    Most countries with real estate bubbles, experience job losses when the bubble pops. The bigger the real estate bubble, the larger number of job losses. Our country has seen a large number of job losses as well. Is this a result of green jobs as well and the real estate bubble and the financial industry simply a whipping boy for renewable energy advocates.

    There may be problems with renewable energy, but using oil industry supplied talking points designed to pit people against each other who should be working together to climb out of this mess, is not the same as addressing facts. They have people so wound up and angry, I’m beginning to think that many people no longer know how to think critically when it comes to politics; and that if you want your industry protected from regulation, or want to beat back a potential competitor, simply politicize issues that in the past were never political. Then, get the unsuspecting to unknowingly do your dirty work.

    So if you want to talk facts, I have a few questions that those opposed to renewable energy never address:
    Why did he use falsified numbers in the study?
    Why was the study not peer reviewed like most studies?
    Why not address the biggest real estate bubble ever as an economic issue in an economic study?
    Oil, gas, coal and nuclear are among the most subsidized industries, why don’t they evoke the same degree of anger?

    These are not “liberal” talking points, yet I have never seem anyone opposed to renewable energy ever address these issues. In most instances, there is either silence, or another oil industry provided talking point is thrown out.

    I welcome an analytical discourse on this issue, but those opposed to renewable energy seem incapable of having one. Ironically, there are a number of issues that should be raised about renewable energy, but the only ones addressing them are supporters.

    So now comes either more talking points that ignore the issues raised, or the sound of crickets. I hope I’m wrong and someone in opposition will step up to the plate to engage in true analytical discussion.

  • http://greeneconomypost.com Chris de Morsella

    The severe economic and financial problems that Spain is experiencing are almost exclusively the result of its previous bubble driven construction boom. During the wild years of the post Euro Spanish housing bubble, 800,000 new apartments were built annually in Spain, more than the combined total in Germany, Italy and France. Even simple laborers were in a position to not only purchase their own homes, but even additional ones as gifts for each of their children — or simply as an investment. Depending on the location, real-estate prices rose by between 150 and 300 percent.
    Spain is now experiencing the inevitable hangover from all of that frothy financial madness. This and pretty much only this housing bubble is the correct explanation for the subsequent problems they have experienced.

    To try to suggest that the comparatively minuscule costs of their feed in tariffs or other funding for wind and solar is the actual cause of the subsequent collapse is dishonest falsehoods spread by professional paid liars and those who believe the lies that have been spoon fed to them by the talking heads who have no moral qualms about spouting out outrageous lies in order to score some political point.

  • SirGareth

    Of course everyone evaluate complex real life data in a way that supports one’s own biases. Success is everyone’s child while failure is an orphan.

    It may be useful to abstract the case one more level from the current argument and simply put it this way:

    Resolved: Centrally controlled economies create more wealth, distribute it more evenly, are more resourceful and more efficient at allocating resources due to the fact that the politicians who make these central decisions are brighter, more honest, harder working and more self-sacrificing, than the people in which otherwise free markets would promote to positions of economic leadership could match.

    OK make your case for or against this proposition and forget the windmills as merely a surrogate for this more basic argument.

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  • BillyB

    Hi – you say that “Oil and gas are among the most subsidized industries”… can you provide some quantification of this, preferably by country? 

    • youcantstandthetruth

       In the United States, credible estimates of annual fossil fuel subsidies range from $10 billion to $52 billion annually

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=720164731 Kyle Becker

    What is it with lefties and continuously lying? Why would conservatives oppose these programs if they actually worked? Because they are just eeevillll? Come on. Grow up already and stop lying.

    • http://greeneconomypost.com Chris de Morsella

      Kyle — many conservatives oppose government on principal. Many conservatives are profoundly influenced by the fossil fuel special interests and knowingly or more commonly unknowingly vociferously support points of view and policies that favor these vested interests. Perhaps it is you who should grow up and open your eyes as to how the world really operates.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Noah-Zark/719165126 Noah Zark

    Climategate I.  Climategate II.  Fakegate/Gleickgate.  Spain’s ending subsidies for “green power”.  Wind power still contributes ZERO percent to overall energy production worldwide.  Germany ends subsidies for solar.  The UK has said wind is a expensive and wasteful mistake.  The carbon exchanges are dead.  Cap-and-trade in the US is even deader. 

    Sorry, but the game is up.  You lost.  Get over it.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SK4GTBXWKIYRX63JIRVP75IVPE SamIam9

    Spain is now reporting an official unemployment rate of 24.4%. It is very likely even higher. I think it is past time to admit that the green economy is a complete disaster. Admitting you are wrong is the first step.

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  • wvhart

    So, if there wasn’t this massive boondoggle of $40 billion over 10 years the Spanish unemployment rate would now be 30%?