How Can You Argue with Logic Like This?

From the Thin Green Line:

So much for criticism that California's environmental leadership "” notably AB 32 "” kills jobs: The state has the most green-collar jobs of any in the nation, and San Francisco leads the Golden State with 42,000 positions. For a city with a population of 809,000, that's pretty impressive.

I think of my father-in-law when I read something like this.  He was a lifelong environmentalist as well as a PHD physicist and a researcher at MIT's Lincoln Labs.  While we often disagreed on various issues, he always tried to bring both science and the scientific method to environmental issues.  I wonder what he would think about this bozo.

Not that this quote really deserves further attention, but here are a couple of random thoughts:

  • While AB32 has been law for a number of years, the CARB has made only limited progress actually setting up the enabling regulations and carbon trading schemes.  In effect, AB32 is largely un-implemented at this point, making its lack of effect on job growth fairly unsurprising
  • Wow, what a surprise -- the state with the largest number of workers has the largest number of workers in a particular employment category.  My guess is they have the most car mechanics in the country too, and the most SUV owners.  So what?
  • The whole definition of a "Green collar job" is total BS.  Basically it means you work in a job that has been deemed to be in a politically correct energy related field.  But why are solar executives green jobs but hydro plant workers not?
  • The implication in the post is that this is some kind of public policy victory, but of course there is no evidence at all of why these jobs exist or are located in California
  • Even if these jobs are the result of some kind of California public policy initiative, how much did they cost?  How many jobs were lost when the government shifted resources around by fiat?  In Spain, its been calculated that more than 2 jobs were lost for every green job created.

There used to be a joke in Texas during the 80's oil bust -- "How do you make a million dollars in oil?  Start with $10 million."  The same likely applies here -- "How do you create 42,000 green jobs?  Start with 100,000."


  1. Rapid:

    Green jobs related to energy, i.e., solar, wind, batteries, are inextricably linked to carbon. Without carbon based energy you don't get the toys. The accounting is strictly political.

  2. Michael:

    There must be an interesting story behind the meeting and courting of your wife.

  3. caseyboy:

    The real growth spurt in green jobs will be the haz-mat jobs required to deal with home or office accidents involving energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. Wonder how many kids will try to clean up the mess before mom or dad get home? This law is BRILLIANT, absolutely BRILLIANT.

  4. Sean:

    Do you have any other breakdown of the "green jobs" other than location? I would bet many of the "green jobs" in San Fran are for NGO's that lobby or litigate to advance an agenda.

  5. epobirs:

    The government subsidies, both state and federal, are a big factor. Scarcely any company pitching products like solar panels or window replacements fails to mention the big rebates and other incentives in their radio ads. Essentially this means people are being told they can afford this by taking money from the pockets of their neighbors. Isn't that swell? Give yourself an ego boost for your virtuous greeniness at the expense of others.

    Note also that those window replacements are a good example of the sorts of long existing jobs now being called 'green.' Have you repaired air conditioning systems for a living for 20 years? You now have a green job because well maintained systems are more efficient. Give yourself retroactive credit for your entire career.