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A Modest Proposal to Create More “Green Jobs”

Did you know that there are more “green jobs” in the U.S. than fossil fuel jobs? Well, that could be true, depending on how you define green jobs and fossil fuel jobs. The Science and Environmental Policy Project’s “The Week That Was” explains:

During the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing held August 1st on “Update on the Latest Climate Change Science …”, Senator Barbara Boxer made much of a 2011 study by the Brookings Institution proclaiming that it showed there are more green jobs (in the Clean Economy) than jobs in the fossil fuel industry. Indeed, the study states there are 2.7 million jobs in the Clean Economy while only 2.4 million jobs in the fossil fuels industry. Fossil fuels jobs are not considered green. Many will jump to the conclusion that government policies to create green jobs have been successful.

However, according to the study there are 24,294 jobs in Wind power and 24,152 jobs in PV solar power. Thus, according to the study, Wind provides 0.90% of the green jobs and PV solar 0.89%. Of course, the numbers reflect false precision. But, nonetheless each industry provides less than 1% of green jobs. This calculation, based on the findings of Brookings, hardly justifies the massive subsidies given Wind or PV solar. The green jobs policies can hardly be called a success.

So, if “green jobs” are not in wind and solar, where are they?

According to the Brookings study discussed above, the two largest categories of green jobs are Waste Management and Treatment (386,116) and Public Mass Transit (350,547). These categories account for 27% of the total. Another large category is Organic Food and Farming (129,956). The study provides an insight on how to create far more green jobs.

Public Mass Transit requires significant amounts of fossil fuels and electricity. Simply replacing motorized transit with horses will provide many more jobs. Immediately, many people will be needed as drivers and workers to care for and feed the horses. Additionally, according a study from Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension, on average, a 1000 pound horse produces about 50 pounds of solid and liquid manure, daily. In addition, it produces about 60 to 70 pounds of stall waste, daily. A great number of waste management workers will be needed to clean the streets at least hourly and muck the stalls at least daily. Since summertime odors, insects, etc. may be an objection, great numbers of students will be needed to address this seasonal issue. By mandating that horses require an organic diet, green jobs in this category will be greatly expanded. Such a mandate has the added benefit of providing a demand for the products of the horse. Indeed the possibilities for green jobs seem boundless.

Mandating inefficiency will almost inevitably create certain jobs. So why isn’t it a good idea? Frankly, I don’t think Barack Obama is smart enough to answer that question. Maybe he should check with Joe Biden and see whether Slow Joe can figure it out.

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