On The Promise Of "Green Jobs"

Sometimes it seems like the biggest selling point advanced in favor of “renewable energy” is the promise of what are called “green jobs.” What are those? Proponents are often vague, but I suppose that the green jobs largely consist of the work of building, installing, and maintaining the vast future farms of windmills and solar panels, and related infrastructure like transmission lines. Since most of these jobs involve some combination of strenuous labor in remote areas and/or a high level of skill, of course they will be very high-paying jobs. Millions of them. What’s not to like about that?

President Obama was an early arrival at the “green jobs” party, tossing out a “plan to create 5 million new green jobs” as part of his 2008 presidential campaign. (Politifact in November 2016 struggles to figure out how many of those jobs ever got created, and if so, where they may be.) You won’t be surprised to learn that Obama’s ideas pretty much all consisted of some variety of government subsidies, programs, mandates, tax credits, “investments,” expenditures, and the like, e.g., a new “job training program for clean technologies,” a new federal “renewable portfolio standard” to force utilities to switch to wind and/or solar generation, extension of the “production tax credit” for wind and solar, and so on and on.

More recently “green jobs” promoters have further upped the ante. In January of this year, Francie Diep of Pacific Standard quoted the Center for American Progress as predicting that a federal “investment” of just $800 billion per year (!) toward cutting carbon emissions to zero would create 6.8 million net new jobs. Meanwhile, the International Labor Organization (part of the UN) put out a study in 2018 predicting that implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement would create some 24 million “net” green new jobs worldwide by 2030. It all sounds like a near-infinite bounty of new wealth.

Do you spot the fallacy here? . . .

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The Best Part Of Not Being A Progressive Is Not Having To Feel Guilty All The Time

I often tell my kids that the most important thing you can do with your life is enjoy it. Life is way shorter than you think, and if you blow your precious days coming up with fake reasons to feel anxious or guilty, you have no one to blame but yourself. Instead, count your blessings and seize every minute.

Then there is the progressive approach to life. I think that the whole progressive philosophy boils down to coming up with fake reasons to feel anxious and/or guilty in order to prevent any and all enjoyment of life. You worked hard and made some money? Then you have caused income inequality! You had a delicious steak for dinner? Then you have caused the degradation of the environment and you are ruining your own health! I’m sure that readers can come up with dozens more such examples.

How to explain this phenomenon? Could it be that there is some dark, twisted pleasure in creating fake guilt for yourself so that you can wallow in it and feel miserable? It doesn’t make any sense to me, but that’s the best hypothesis I’ve got. However, this I do know: There is definitely much pleasure to be had in watching progressives wallowing in their guilt and sapping all the joy out of their lives. This can be quite entertaining.

A great example of the genre is an article that appeared in the Travel section of the New York Times over the weekend. The headline (in the online version) is “If Seeing the World Helps Ruin It, Should We Stay Home?”, and the author is Andy Newman. This was not just any old article, but the lead article, occupying the entire front page and the entire back page of the section. It had the official New York Times imprimatur as the most important thing happening in the world of travel right now. So what is the official word? . . .

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Will The Democratic Candidates Ever Notice That The Climate Change Thing Is Over?

Maybe the impetus was the California Democratic Convention that took place this past weekend, or maybe it is the upcoming first presidential debate later this month, but it certainly seems that the score-plus of Democratic presidential candidates have entered a bidding war of ever-more-extravagant campaign proposals. And in no field is this more true than in the field of what they call “climate change,” aka spending vast sums of taxpayer and ratepayer money in the futile effort to restrict fossil fuels and promote alternative and useless methods of energy production like wind and solar.

As noted here just last week, minor candidate Governor Jay Inslee of the state of Washington got the ball rolling, trying to grab this issue as his own by “making climate change the center of his campaign” and declaring a series of pie-in-the-sky goals like: “Reach 100% zero emissions in new light- and medium-duty vehicles and all buses, achieve 100% zero-carbon pollution from all new commercial and residential buildings; and set a national 100% Clean Electricity Standard, requiring 100% carbon-neutral power by 2030 .” Well, you can’t expect the other candidates just to take that kind of thing lying down. Here are some of the bids from competing candidates:

  • At berniesanders.com, the program to “combat climate change” includes such things as “[p]ass a Green New Deal,” “[b]an fracking and new fossil fuel infrastructure and keep oil, gas, and coal in the ground . . . .,” and “[e]nd exports of coal, natural gas, and crude oil.” . . .

Meanwhile, out in the rest of the world, they continue to laugh at this spectacle. Just last week, Bloomberg reported on efforts by the Chinese government to get their miners to reduce the price of coal so that the price of electricity can drop and more coal-based electricity can be consumed: . . .

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Global Warming: Is There Anything It Can't Do?

Global Warming:  Is There Anything It Can't Do?

The general interest newsmagazines of the world have been in serious decline for years. Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report — what ever happened to them? Although all of them still exist in some form, they are all shadows of their former selves.

But then there is The Economist of London. These people put out what at least looks on the surface to be a serious print edition every week. They devote real resources to gathering news from around the world. If you want to find out what’s going on in, say, Argentina or the Congo or Uganda, this is one of the few places that you can find it. But can you trust anything they say?

I’ve been a long-time subscriber to The Economist, and had long regarded them as relatively sensible, generally less infected by leftist groupthink than most mainstream sources. But then, a few years ago — I can’t pinpoint the exact date — they made what appears to be a corporate-level decision to go all in for global warming alarm. Henceforth, every issue would contain one or several global warming stories, always with the slant of trying to scare the readership about the allegedly terrible crisis at hand.

Since then, it’s been a steady downhill slide. But how low can this go? In the issue of May 25-31, 2019, we seem to have hit bottom, with an editorial headlined “How to think about global warming and war.” Yes, they have now descended to attempting to blame all world warfare and strife on the universal bogeyman of “global warming.” . . .

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What's The Potential Bipartisan Compromise On "Climate" Policy?

What's The Potential Bipartisan Compromise On "Climate" Policy?

Many bemoan how our political culture has become increasingly and perhaps irretrievably polarized in recent years. Seemingly all of Washington consists of nothing but two sides endlessly screaming at each other. What happened to what once were the regular outbreaks of “bipartisanship”? Can’t these people work together any more to “get things done”?

For myself, I’ve never been much of a fan of “bipartisanship” or “getting things done” in Washington. Almost always, these are euphemisms for adding to the government’s budget and to counter-productive programs, albeit a little more slowly than the Democrats would have liked. How about getting less done in Washington, and letting the states, or the people individually, take care of these things?

But suppose you are a fan of the growth of government and its spending as the route to solve all the big problems of the world. Then the “climate change” mantra may well seem to you like a godsend. Here is a catch-all slogan that can be used to advocate for most or all of your major goals, while bringing to the mix a claim of moral necessity and urgency that many people, especially young people, find politically irresistible. Do you want to have the government take a more active role in maintaining and improving the environment? How about a more active role to make industry or agriculture or transportation more “sustainable”? How about to thwart capitalism and bring about a more just and fair society organized on a socialist model? How about to redistribute income from rich to poor? Make it all about “climate change.” Now you’re not just playing to envy and using taxpayer dollars to buy votes. You’re fighting to “save the planet”! The moral high ground is yours. . . .

But there is a fundamental problem here in trying to reach any kind of half-way compromise on an emissions reduction program intended to affect the climate. The problem is that the whole concept of affecting the world’s climate through attempted emissions reductions quite obviously doesn’t make any sense at all except on the very grandest of scales. Halfway (or ten percent of the way) measures are completely useless. . . .

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So Who Are The Stupid Ones Down In Australia?

On Saturday, there was a big national election in Australia. All seats for the parliament were up. The incumbent Prime Minister, running for re-election, was Scott Morrison of the Liberal Party (we would call them conservatives). The opposition Labor Party, whose candidate for PM was a guy named Bill Shorten, explicitly ran a campaign focused on the issue of climate change.

Going into the election, all polls had Labor ahead (although some by margins as small as 2-3 points). But in the end, Morrison and the Liberals (in coalition with other small parties) won a clear, if somewhat narrow, victory.

Labor clearly thought that running on the issue of “climate change” was the sure route to victory. They frequently referred to the contest as the “Climate Change Election.” They accused the Liberals of lacking any credible plan to attack climate change. And they devised detailed proposals that they called their “Climate Change Action Plan.” Here is a summary; and here is the full Plan. The idea was to force massive cuts in Australians’ CO2 emissions in an effort to “save the planet.” From the Overview in the Plan:

Failure to act on climate change will expose the Australian people and environment to devastating costs for our economy, society, security, health and environment. Experts at the ANU, University of Melbourne and CSIRO estimate failing to keep global warming to below two degrees will eventually cost the average Australian household $14,000 per year.

The promised “action on climate change” boiled down to a forced reduction in Australia’s CO2 emissions by 45% (on 2005 levels) by 2030, and “net zero” emissions by 2050. And how was that to be accomplished? . . .

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