Cap and Trade Needs Quality Green Manufacturing JobsPosted on May 25th, 2009 3 comments
So we know that there are already “green” jobs and more and more of these jobs are being created everyday. The problem is that I am not really sure what a green job is. I read one internet story where livable wage “green” jobs were being created in Washington State. I was surprised to learn that the jobs being created were to weatherize houses. According to the Apollo Alliance, these jobs would be “green collar” jobs.
Weatherizing a house is a green thing to do, but I would not call doing it a “green collar” job. Would anyone ever say that the gas station mechanic who gave their car a tune-up and then checked the air pressure in the tires was a “green collar” worker? I surely would hope not.
Maybe I am a purist, but when people talk about “green collar” jobs I think about someone manufacturing or installing solar panels, or a worker at a wind turbine tower manufacturer, or even a worker at a materials company that creates that high-tech materials used for the solar panels. I definitely don’t see auto mechanics and replacement window installers as “green collar” jobs. The real issue is that when advocacy groups, like the Apollo Alliance, tout the number of “green collar” jobs that will be created do they count these jobs?
A study by the Rand Corporation and the University of Tennessee claims that if America were to produce 25% of its energy from renewable sources it would create 5 million new green jobs by 2025. Does this number count the gas station attendant that is pumping the bio-fuel into the car? How many of these jobs are lasting manufacturing jobs?
I think it important to understand what type of jobs will be created for two important reasons: First, a great many jobs were lost in the current recession, second, the chance of their being cap and trade legislation enacted.
In this current economic downturn the U.S. shed over 5 million jobs. Many of those lost jobs were good manufacturing jobs. I just want to get a handle on whether the “green” economy created jobs have the same economic impact as the jobs they replaced.
Cap and trade is more of an issue. If you believe the numbers from the conservative organizations, such as The Heritage Foundation, cap and trade will mean a loss of jobs. The Heritage Foundation report “The Economic Cost of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Change Legislation” projects that the “annual job losses exceed 500,000 before 2030 and could approach 1,000,000.”
A more middle of the road analysis was given by Howard Gruenspecht, Deputy Administrator Energy Information Administration U.S. Department of Energy before the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources United States Senate on September 20, 2005. In the testimony, Mr. Gruenspecht stated that “the average petroleum price to all users (including the price of emissions permits) is 2.2 percent higher in 2015 and 1.4 percent higher in 2025”. He goes on to state that the projected affect of the cap and trade policy on the projected level of real gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025 ‘…will be 0.13 percent ($27 billion dollars) below the reference case levels. These changes do not materially affect average economic growth rates for the 2003 to 2025 period.” This does not mean that the overall GDP will be negative, only that there will be a slight drag on the economy.
Although I am for “green” energy and I support cap and trade on an environmental level, I am not sure I can support it on an economic level. As I have mentioned in a previous post, dollar for dollar manufacturing jobs do more to stimulate the economy then other sector jobs. I would feel much better if I had a better understanding of what the “green collar” jobs really are.
It is going to be hard enough to get back the manufacturing jobs lost due to the recession. I am not sure that the economy can recover if cap and trade causes any significant loss of manufacturing jobs. We need more manufacturing jobs in this country not less.
3 responses to “Cap and Trade Needs Quality Green Manufacturing Jobs”
I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!
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Great post. I find this to be a really fascinating topic and you put a new spin on it for me. Thanks! 🙂
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