The Green Jobs Myth

IntheNet

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Oct 6, 2009
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What's a green job? Even the government can't define it:

Obama to create 17,000 green jobs. What's a green job?
Despite the president's initiative, no one really knows how to count green jobs. A definitive answer is months away.
The Christian Science Monitor
By Laurent Belsie Staff writer / January 8, 2010
http://www.csmonitor.com/Money/new-economy/2010/0108/Obama-to-create-17-000-green-jobs.-What-s-a-green-job
President Obama announced $2.3 billion in federal tax credits on Friday, which he said would create 17,000 new "green" jobs. Which is great, except that no one can count green jobs because, fundamentally, no one knows what a green job is.

Wait... if "green jobs" are so good, why do we have to spend billions in government subsidies for them? An earlier WSJ article asks the right questions:



The 'Green Jobs' Myth
The Wall Street Journal
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122886086448792609.html
We hope the incoming Obama economics team is paying attention to the worker and industry backlash in Europe. Mr. Obama is still embracing the line from Greenpeace and the Environmental Defense Fund that cap and trade can generate five million "green jobs." If you throw enough tax subsidies at something, you're bound to get some new jobs. But if the money for those subsidies comes from higher energy taxes -- and a cap and trade regime would amount to as much $1.2 trillion of new taxes -- millions of jobs in carbon-using industry are also going to be lost.

Lastly, what Green Job in manufacturing can't be done in China cheaper? So are these Green Jobs myths, or just more Obama lies?
 

Eraserhead

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Nov 3, 2005
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Green and China are pretty much on the other sides of the fence.
Not true.

The Economist said:
Nor are internationally binding targets necessary for getting countries to cut emissions. China, while resisting such targets, may have done more to curb emissions growth than any other country in recent years.
(source)
 

StruckANerve

macrumors 6502
Dec 31, 2008
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No one knows what a green job is? I do.

It's a job involving the research, development and manufacturing of green industry products. You know, like solar panels, wind turbines, and high efficiency home improvement products.
 

Peterkro

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abijnk

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No one knows what a green job is? I do.

It's a job involving the research, development and manufacturing of green industry products. You know, like solar panels, wind turbines, and high efficiency home improvement products.
Exactly. I don't get what's so difficult to understand?

EDIT:
Just to add to that, I understand what the CSM article is getting at, but it's all just a political title anyways. At this point, who cares either way? Do we need more jobs? Yes. Do we need more 'green' things? Yes. So no matter how you classify something as a green job it's a win.
 

Eraserhead

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Care to link the story? Requires a log in
Damn :( to be honest the only interesting thing about that article is that quote. For much more detail on what China (and the US) are doing take a look at the arguments made on: http://www.economist.com/debate/overview/158 - and you don't need a login to view that. You click on the dates at the top to view the arguments made on each day (I've got confused by that before :eek:).

Maybe so,however they've only been at it for around 50 years whereas the U.S. and Europe have been doing it for around 200.
50 years is pretty generous to China too, they've only being growing fast since around 1980.
 

Queso

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Mar 4, 2006
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No one knows what a green job is? I do.

It's a job involving the research, development and manufacturing of green industry products. You know, like solar panels, wind turbines, and high efficiency home improvement products.
When the Fundies say nobody knows or understands they actually mean they don't know or understand themselves, yet because they know best their not knowing must mean everybody is as ignorant as they are.

Notice how they use those phrases a lot?
 

Surely

Guest
Oct 27, 2007
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When the Fundies say nobody knows or understands they actually mean they don't know or understand themselves, yet because they know best their not knowing must mean everybody is as ignorant as they are.

Notice how they use those phrases a lot?
No, I think that they understand, but since the green movement doesn't fit into their type of crazy, they pretend to not understand.
 

zap2

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Mar 8, 2005
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Maybe so,however they've only been at it for around 50 years whereas the U.S. and Europe have been doing it for around 200.
While true, it doesn't mean the Chinese government should continue with its disregard to environmental safety. They will talk environmental concern, but aren't quick to act on it.
 

Eraserhead

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They will talk environmental concern, but aren't quick to act on it.
They have acted. See the following examples for starters.

In the last several years, China has put in place a series of policies and national energy savings programmes that have catalysed green action across the country. China's 11th Five-year Plan (2006-10) seeks to increase forest coverage to 20% and reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20%, on top of already impressive gains over the previous three decades. President Hu Jintao recently announced plans for China to reduce carbon emissions per unit of GDP by a "notable margin".
(EDIT: For some evidence of the forest cover improvements - see http://newswire.rockefeller.edu/?page=engine&id=549)

Since 2003, China's coal-plant fleet has actually been more efficient than that of the United States. The GreenLeapForward blogs that "new plants such as the 1GW ultrasupercritical coal plant in Yuhuan can generate a kilowatt hour of electricity with just 283 grams of coal". This is a big improvement over 370 grams in 2005 and 349 grams in 2008, that is, 6% improvement in just five years.
FutureGen, the US-based carbon capture sequestration for zero-emission coal plant, stalled in 2008 and has only recently been revived. China's GreenGen is already in the construction phase and is set to be fully operational by 2011. Collaborators include American companies, Peabody Energy and Duke Energy.
One day last July, distribution of free thin plastic bags in grocery stores—the sort Americans use every day—were banned across China for environmental reasons. China Trade News says that China used plastic bags at a rate of 3 billion bags every day, and that this prolific bag use required the consumption of 5m tons, or 37m barrels, of refined crude oil every year for plastic bags alone. Overnight, China's citizens changed their behaviour and now use cloth bags en masse. This simple policy shows how uniquely effective China can be with a central, united act.
(source for all)
 

Surely

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Oct 27, 2007
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The CSM is a well respected newspaper, btw.
Say what you will about the faith, but the CSM is a relatively highly respected publication.
Well, my bad. But with a name like that, you can't really blame me for the ':rolleyes:'

I googled CSM after seeing your comments, and I've edited my comment about that newspaper.


Now if only certain other members had the ability to admit they were wrong.....
 

Peterkro

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While true, it doesn't mean the Chinese government should continue with its disregard to environmental safety. They will talk environmental concern, but aren't quick to act on it.
As Eraserhead has pointed out they actually are doing quite a lot. The problem here is the industrialised countries have become rich at the expense of the environment and are now trying to pull the ladder up to prevent developing countries from doing the same. The painful truth is the only way to protect the earth is for developed countries to pay developing countries to adopt green technology.
 

IntheNet

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It's a job involving the research, development and manufacturing of green industry products. You know, like solar panels, wind turbines, and high efficiency home improvement products.
Okay! Thanks.

That's what I wanted to hear! I honestly did not know what the reference was to "green jobs" and what they actually were...question remains, however, why we are spending so much on them, if, as you say, they are the "development" of products when the Chinese can do it cheaper? Am I missing something that only we can do these? Can't Chinese manufacture these too for a lot less? Therefore, if that is true, why are we staking our future on something that's just going to be exported off-shore for manufacture?
 

Queso

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As a Mac user you should really understand this concept.

Design in the USA + manufacturer in China = Profit
 

Eraserhead

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Can't Chinese manufacture these too for a lot less? Therefore, if that is true, why are we staking our future on something that's just going to be exported off-shore for manufacture?
By the time green manufacturing gets fully off the ground (and its worth moving the factory to a new location in China) it won't be significantly cheaper to export offshore to China as they'll be demanding similar wages to those in the US.
 

abijnk

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Oct 15, 2007
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Okay! Thanks.

That's what I wanted to hear! I honestly did not know what the reference was to "green jobs" and what they actually were...question remains, however, why we are spending so much on them, if, as you say, they are the "development" of products when the Chinese can do it cheaper? Am I missing something that only we can do these? Can't Chinese manufacture these too for a lot less? Therefore, if that is true, why are we staking our future on something that's just going to be exported off-shore for manufacture?
You can't outsource the installation of solar panels in Southern California to the Chinese... For example...
 

Peterkro

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To be fair I've only shown one side of the debate here, I haven't covered any of the improvements that the US has made.
While I certainly support any movement to improve environmental conditions wherever in the world it may happen looking at the figures of energy consumption per capita for instance shows China consuming 1316 kilograms of oil equivalent per person and the U.S. 7885. Now how that energy is produced is of course important but I think it points to where green technology will make the most difference.(and where lowering consumption would be most important,not that the U.S. is the only country where consumption is so high).


Source is Earthtrends and for 2005.
 

Peterkro

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You can't outsource the installation of solar panels in Southern California to the Chinese... For example...
True, also a major part of green technology is localisation it's no good for instance making cheaper turbine blades in China for use in the U.S. if transportation costs (both in monetary and environmental terms) makes them more expensive and transportation costs are approaching the point where they will increase rapidly.