green jobs Archives - Shopfloor

Energy on the Margins

By | Energy, Global Warming, Regulations | No Comments

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has announced a new DOE blog, launching The Energy Blog along with new accounts on Facebook and Twitter.

At the DOE website, he also notes:

Today is also the second and final day of the first-ever Clean Energy Ministerial — the first time in history that ministers of the world’s largest economies have gathered to focus exclusively on clean energy. You can watch it live from 10 AM to 5 PM and submit your questions directly to Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs David Sandalow through Facebook and Twitter (via hashtag #CEM).

The Hill reports, “White House to host meeting on green jobs Tuesday“:

The White House on Tuesday will host a discussion with community leaders, stake holders and energy experts from the federal government on ways the country can transition to a clean energy economy that will help create jobs and make the United States more competitive abroad.

The discussion is slated to begin in the morning and is expected to focus on the importance of sustainable buildings in a clean energy economy. Current initiatives and pending legislation is expected to be a part of the conversation.

A recent, little-noticed study by Economics and Statistics Administration analysis reported that, at most, only 2 percent of the economy qualifies as “the green economy.” From the introduction of “Measuring the Green Economy”:

Our results suggest that green products and services comprised 1% to 2% of the total private business economy in 2007. The lower estimate was developed using a narrow definition that included products that we found generated little debate regarding their “greenness.” The larger estimate was based on a broad definition that included products that some might argue were not green. Under the broad definition, the share of green products and services was substantially larger, but still constituted only a relatively small part of the economy.

The number of green jobs was also found to be modest, ranging from about 1.8 million jobs under the narrow definition to 2.4 million jobs under the broad definition. These jobs constituted between 1.5% and 2.0% of total private sector employment in 2007. Green products accounted for about the same share of employment in the manufacturing sector as in the services sector.

Clean Energy Manufacturing Forum with Secretary Locke

By | Energy, Global Warming, Studies and Reports | One Comment

From the White House blog:

[Today]from 10:30 AM EDT to 1 PM EDT, the White House will host a Clean Energy Economy Forum focused on clean energy manufacturing. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke will kick off the event with opening remarks followed by two panel discussions focusing on strategies to advance the development and commercialization of new clean energy technologies, support the creation and growth of emerging industries and small and medium enterprises, promote exports, and train workers for the clean energy economy.

You can watch the forum live tomorrow at WhiteHouse.gov/live. During the question and answer portion of the panel discussions we’ll be taking some questions from the online audience so submit your questions via Facebook or our webform.

In the hopes of a realistic discussion about the potential of “clean energy” as part of the larger — much larger — manufacturing sector, we link again to the analysis released in April by one of Secretary Locke’s own agencies at Commerce, the Economic and Statistics Administration, “Measuring the Green Economy.”

From the introduction, a statement of ESA’s findings:

Our results suggest that green products and services comprised 1% to 2% of the total private business economy in 2007. The lower estimate was developed using a narrow definition that included products that we found generated little debate regarding their “greenness.” The larger estimate was based on a broad definition that included products that some might argue were not green. Under the broad definition, the share of green products and services was substantially larger, but still constituted only a relatively small part of the economy.

The number of green jobs was also found to be modest, ranging from about 1.8 million jobs under the narrow definition to 2.4 million jobs under the broad definition. These jobs constituted between 1.5% and 2.0% of total private sector employment in 2007. Green products accounted for about the same share of employment in the manufacturing sector as in the services sector.

‘Green Jobs’ Could Push California (Further) Into the Red

By | Economy, Energy, Global Warming | No Comments

The California and Manufacturers Technology Association held a news conference Wednesday to release results of a new study, “The Truth About Green Jobs and California.” Key report conclusions:

1. Where existing jobs are counted as green and when policies create green jobs at the expense of existing jobs, the true impact of green policies can’t be determined.
2. Green job policies are counterproductive if California becomes economically inefficient — creating green jobs but raising costs or reducing output.
3. Due to these and other factors, no study yet proves that green job policies will be beneficial to the California economy.

As CMTA’s Jack Stewart argues: “California should be the home of clean tech innovation and manufacturing. Improving the business climate would grow the ‘right’ green jobs, not short term jobs that only survive with government subsidies and hurt the state’s overall economy.”

The report was conducted by the California Lutheran University Center for Economic Research and Forecasting. The Ventura County Star covered its release.

The report, co-authored by the center’s director, economist Bill Watkins, was commissioned by the California Manufacturers and Technology Association. It becomes the latest in a series of conflicting reports and analyses on the potential economic impacts of AB32, California’s landmark climate-change law, and will add fuel to the debate over a November ballot proposition that seeks to suspend the law’s implementation.

The report, which Watkins called “a review of the evidence,” argues that there will be no net economic benefit from any green jobs created as a result of the legislation.

“It is simply impossible to see how draconian legislation — particularly those mandates imposed in only one state — cannot have serious deleterious economic impacts,” the report says.

Let’s Transition to this Examiner Column about Green Jobs

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From President Obama’s remarks last night:

The transition away from fossil fuels is going to take some time, but over the last year and a half, we’ve already taken unprecedented* action to jumpstart the clean energy industry.  As we speak, old factories are reopening to produce wind turbines, people are going back to work installing energy-efficient windows, and small businesses are making solar panels.  Consumers are buying more efficient cars and trucks, and families are making their homes more energy-efficient.  Scientists and researchers are discovering clean energy technologies that someday will lead to entire new industries. 

Good things, conceptually, but do the data match the exhortations? Byron York, Washington Examiner, “Billions for ‘green jobs,’ whatever they are.”

In a June 2 letter to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, [Sen. Charles] Grassley noted that there was an enormous amount of money in the $862 billion stimulus bill for those still-undefined green jobs.

“According to the administration, the Recovery Act contains more than $80 billion in clean energy funding to promote economic recovery and develop clean energy jobs,” Grassley wrote. “However, it has come to my attention that the [Labor Department] is just now attempting to define what a ‘green job’ is. Interestingly, this comes more than a year after the Recovery Act was signed into law and after millions of dollars in funding have already been distributed for green jobs.”

Since the Labor Department is looking for a definition after spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on green jobs, Grassley asked, then what definition of green jobs did it use when it spent the money? The question applies beyond the Labor Department. What about all the other government agencies that are spending zillions on green jobs? They don’t have a widely accepted definition either.

Looks like the California Manufacturers and Technology Association may provide us more detail about greenery today at a news conference:

Manufacturers and Cal Lutheran University’s Bill Watkins to release green jobs report
Study finds that California’s economy would weaken
if state sacrifices existing job base to reach green job goals

Sacramento, CA — On Wednesday, June 16, at 10:00 a.m. the California Manufacturers & Technology Association (CMTA) will hold a statewide media teleconference to release and discuss a green jobs study — The Truth About Green Jobs and California — recently completed by Bill Watkins, Ph.D. of Cal Lutheran University.

The report provides context to recent green job studies and claims, analyzes what has occurred in countries with “green job” mandates, and takes a look at the real costs of green job policies that ignore markets and the need for overall economic growth.

The report will be available online at www.cmta.net/greenjobs.php at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

* Unprecedented! We’re up to 472 uses of the word at www.whitehouse.gov. It’s an unprecedented use of unprecedented.

Transition Away from Prosperity, 9 Million Jobs

By | Energy, General, Global Warming | No Comments

From President Obama’s televised address last night:

Each of us has a part to play in a new future that will benefit all of us.  As we recover from this recession, the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of jobs -– but only if we accelerate that transition.  Only if we seize the moment.  And only if we rally together and act as one nation –- workers and entrepreneurs; scientists and citizens; the public and private sectors.  

Jonah Goldberg, National Review, “Oil: The Real Green Fuel“:

If you remove the argument over climate change from the equation (as even European governments are starting to do), one thing becomes incandescently clear: Fossil fuels have been one of the great boons both to humanity and the environment, allowing forests to regrow (now that we don’t use wood for heating fuel or grow fuel for horses anymore) and liberating billions from backbreaking toil. The great and permanent shortage is usable surface land and fresh water. The more land we use to produce energy, the less we have for vulnerable species, watersheds, agriculture, recreation, etc.

From the American Petroleum Institute, the summary of a paper released last November:

America’s Oil and Natural Gas Industry Supports Over 9 Million Jobs
Everyone is touched by America’s oil and natural gas industry. How so? Farmers use fertilizer made from natural gas. Truckers use diesel fuel to ship goods to market. And businesses rely on oil and natural gas to make and sell their products and provide their services. If you buy a loaf of bread, purchase a new electronic gadget, or drive a car, consider yourself a part of the oil and natural gas industry. From airline pilots to welders, and every job in between, we’ve all got a stake in our energy future.

The API paper is available here.

States of the State: California

By | Around the States, Economy, Energy, Taxation | No Comments

We continue our look at governors’ states of the state addresses for their references to “manufacturing” or “manufacturers.” Earlier posts on New York Gov. David Paterson, Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire and Kansas Gov. Mark Patterson are below.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger delivered his final State of the State address on Thursday, Jan. 7, in Sacramento. Schwarzenegger, a Republican, was first elected with the recall of Gov. Gray Davis in 2003 and then re-elected in 2006.

His specific reference to manufacturing (text of speech):

And fourth, since we want California to be the dynamo of green technology, I ask you to pass our proposal exempting the purchase of green-tech manufacturing equipment from the sales tax. That too means jobs. (Applause) Those are jobs for the new economy.

No references to “industry” or its variants.

Again, the exercise is to just search for those terms. All these states of state addresses deal with economic policy; we’re just interested to see if “manufacturing” rises to the level of specific mentions.


The First Speech by OSHA’s New Administrator, David Michaels

By | Economy, General, Human Resources, Regulations | No Comments

Fresh from his Senate confirmation, David Michaels, the new Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, made his maiden speech as OSHA Administrator Wednesday. He spoke at a conference sponsored by the National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health, an address entitled, “Making Green Jobs Safe: Integrating Occupational Safety & Health into Green and Sustainability.” Excerpt:

I think it’s very fitting and proper that my first speech as Assistant Secretary should address the issue of green jobs – what green jobs mean for the earth, for our economy and for American workers.

We’re all aware of the job opportunities that green jobs offer, and in the present economy, new technologies with the potential of new jobs are especially welcome.

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis recently announced nearly $55 million in green job grants, authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. These grants will support job training and labor market information programs to help workers, many in underserved communities, find jobs in expanding green industries and related occupations.

Is it fitting, really, that the first comments by a powerful federal regulator single out one segment of the economy for implicitly favored treatment? No one really knows what “green jobs” or “green industries” are; subjective definitions and standards are enemies of consistent regulation — and the rule of law, for that matter.

To be fair, the occasion was a forum dedicated to greenness, so comments to the topic were to be expected. But when speaking about the broader economy, Michaels offers even more of this subjectivity and invidiousness. This is a striking statement, coming as it does from a powerful regulatory and enforcement official who should embrace fairness and objectivity.

Where, and when possible, OSHA must move ahead on rulemaking for urgently needed standards – and to create good standards, we’ll need the input of scientists and engineers, academics, students and workers. We’ll also need allies in the progressive business community who will say “yes” to sensible changes and participate in the rulemaking process with constructive comments and insight.

Those comments divide employers into good business and bad business, progressives and reactionaries, those to be rewarded, those to be punished. In other words, “If you go along with us, support our proposals with our ‘sensible changes’ you’re progressive and good, and we’ll get along just fine. If you disagree with our proposals, object to our ‘sensible changes,” well, then, we won’t pay any attention to you. If you’re lucky. If you’re not, we might pay a lot of attention to you, and you won’t like it a bit.”

We would have expected a top official in the jobs-minded Obama Administration and Department of Labor to begin his tenure with speech that says, “We are going to work with everyone to create good jobs in a safe and healthy workplace.” Instead, we get a speech that told employers to fall in line with whatever OSHA says or pay the consequences.

U.S. Manufacturing is Not Just Green Jobs, You Know

By | Economy, Education and Training, Energy, Global Warming | No Comments

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis appeared Thursday on the public radio program, the Diane Rehm Show, interviewed by guest host Frank Sesno. The day’s economic news, a rise in the 3rd Quarter GDP, and unemployment were big topics.

The odd thing about the discussion was Secretary Solis’ overreliance on talking points about “green jobs,” hybrid vehicles and renewable energy. It sounded as if the Obama Administration thinks U.S. manufacturing should reorient itself to federally subsidized green jobs and nothing but.

There’s more to manufacturing!

Solis: [I] think there are going to be new opportunities too. For example, yesterday a visit I had in Las Vegas with Nevada Energy, through the smart grid we’re making moneys available, $138 million, to help jump start a new infrastructure there that will allow consumers in that state to be able to monitor and meter their use of energy, electricity, which means a great deal for Nevada because, you know, the extreme hot weather there during the summer and also right now as we get into winter, obviously cooling trends. But if people can have information to be available to know how they’re using, consuming energy and how they work to reduce those high costs themselves, that’s a big incentive for all of us.

Sesno: I want to talk more about the whole smart grid and green energy and all of that in a moment, but you mentioned Nevada. Nevada has been slammed, of course, because the property values there have just fallen through the floor, home sales have been stifled, and the tourism industry has taken a big hit because of the rest of the economy as well. So with that particular example, that money you were talking about, does that create in the short term more jobs for Nevada?

Solis: Well, it will, because there will be at least 200 jobs that will be created for individuals who’ll need to be trained in the reading of these new meters that are going to be ….

Sesno…That’s a start…

Solis …situated

Sesno: But that’s still a drop in the bucket

Solis: No. Well, it’s a start, but what happens is there’s additional retail activity that has to happen, or will happen, because people will be purchasing different pieces of equipment that you can attach to your refrigerator that will serve as a thermostat, and that will happen. There will be accountants that have to be hired. There will business managers, there will have to be warehouse people hired, people in trucking industry, they’ll have to help us transport.

We’ve transcribed more from the interview here.

Green jobs? Good. We like them. But they’re not a panacea, and judging from the examples Secretary Solis cited in the interview, the Administration seems to favor the green jobs that require heavy federal subsidies.

(Edited Saturday for grammar.)

Waxman-Markey: Let’s At Least Be Straight About the Jobs

By | Economy, Energy, Global Warming, Regulations | One Comment

The Economist’s U.S. correspondent, who writes under the nom de plume of “Lexington,” is exasperated about the lack of straight talk from Congressional advocates for government limits on greenhouse gas emissions. Lexington believes in taking action, with the most straightforward way being a carbon tax. But, since the public regards taxes as bad, politicians “waffle and obfuscate” on energy policy.

From “The myth of green jobs“:

John Kerry, who is neither stupid nor ignorant, claims not to know what “cap and trade” means

And Barbara Boxer, asked what the government should do to create jobs, said we should pass an energy bill, ie, the cap and trade bill that dare not speak its name. This, she said, would “allow this economy to take off“.

For heaven’s sake. The point of putting a cap or a tax on carbon emissions is to curb carbon emissions, thereby saving the planet from cooking. It is not about creating jobs. It will certainly create some, but it will destroy plenty, too.

Both presidential candidates last year vigorously promoted the notion that halting climate change will not merely be painless but will actually provide a huge boost to the economy. Kevin Hassett explains why this is nonsense

If politicians insist on pretending that everything is a free lunch, they should not be surprised if a) many voters don’t believe them and b) the rest get angry when the bill arrives. 

The Senate bill sets a target of reducing C02 emissions by 20 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. The House bill set a target of a 17. The NAM and the American Council for Capital Formation analyzed the House bill, Waxman-Markey, and found the legislation would result in up to 2.4 million lost jobs, higher energy prices for businesses and consumers, and cumulative GDP losses of up to 3.1 trillion dollars over an 18-year period.

Yeah, for heaven’s sake.

Labor Secretary Solis Speaks to the NAM

By | Economy, Education and Training, Labor Unions | No Comments

Today the National Association of Manufacturers heard from its first member of the Obama Cabinet as Labor Secretary Hilda Solis addressed the morning session of the NAM Manufacturing Summit. The Administration has been quite good on keeping lines of communication open with the NAM, and certainly our members — some 200+ manufacturers in the room — appreciated her speaking.

Secretary Solis thanked the NAM for its support for the President’s stimulus bill, quickly highlighted the serious state of the economy, and endorsed programs to help train and retrain workers, especially in the area of green jobs and health care.

A few quotes, first on the recession…

I know we all carry this along us, because this is a crisis that affects everybody. But we can get out of it. I am assured that this is just one down payment, the stimulus, it won’t last long. But we have to produce something, and I know that many of us who are working in the Administration are going to want to see that there is some output, there’s some good results, there’s accountability, transparency, and that we partner with different parts of the country, so we really spread the resources around regionally.

We interpreted her comment as a general “there’s a lot of work to do,” not the foreshadowing of a second stimulus bill.

And looking forward…

In spite of all the bad news, I really believe the American public knows, as you know, there is going to be change in the next few months. It may not be where we’re going to see the unemployment rate drop dramatically, but you will see new start-up businesses, you will see people getting into back into new homes, and you will see the enthusiasm of the young people…who are looking for the next place to go — that education, that certificate, or that new job.

Secretary Solis did not comment on any issue where the NAM has sharp disagreements with the Administration or that might invite controversy, e.g., the Employee Free Choice Act. She did not take questions.

Sound files…
Part 1
Part 2