Green, But No Green

Yesterday the New York Times published an interesting story about “green jobs.”  It found that, despite being the focus of government subsidies and targeted jobs creation efforts, “green” businesses really haven’t produced much green — in the form of cash payments to new workers and employees.

The article found that “clean technology” jobs account for only a small fraction of jobs nationwide, and that government programs to subsidize and stimulate creation of “green jobs” have largely failed.  Job training efforts also have not borne fruit.  And this story comes on top of other stories that show that much of the employment generated by “green energy” subsidies occurs in other countries, like China, that actually manufacture the wind turbines and solar panel devices that typically are the centerpiece of green jobs initiatives and the photo op backdrop for political speeches about those initiatives.

Amazingly — to me, at least — some green energy advocates say federal and state governments haven’t done enough to encourage green energy.  They bemoan the fact that Congress did not enact “cap and trade” legislation that would have made use of fossil fuels more expensive and therefore made green energy alternatives more competitive.  For now, however, people are paying attention to their pocketbooks when they are making energy choices, and green energy is losing out.

The article is a good illustration of how government forecasts and promises frequently end up for naught.  It also demonstrates that government efforts to redirect consumer sentiments are doomed to fail — at least when they ask consumers to spend more for unfamiliar technology that doesn’t seem to work as well as what they were using before.

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