Obama, climate change, "greenfare" and economics Posted by: McQ
on Thursday, December 04, 2008
In a bit of a welcome to president-elect Obama those gathered in Poland at a climate change conference have made it clear that the US must make much more drastic cuts in it's emissions that it plans:
Delegates from China and India told Reuters at the Dec. 1-12 talks that they welcomed Obama's plan to cut emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 compared to less ambitious goals set by President George W. Bush. (Emissions are now about 14 percent above 1990 ).
But they say Obama isn't going far enough.
Developing nations want all developed nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions by far more. That, they say, is the condition for the poor to start slowing their own rising emissions from factories, power plants and cars.
In other words, if the US (and other "developed" nations) doesn't agree, no deal.
Obviously that would be fine with me. But I get an icky feeling that the incoming Obama administration will want to be "collegial" with the rest of the world and will cave to their demands. Destroying your economy is how you "change" how the world perceives you, I suppose.
In the meantime, the highly touted "green jobs" Obama promised which supposedly will help economically are getting some scrutiny, and they aren't at all as promising as some would like you to think:
Nowhere is it mentioned that these "green-collar jobs" would be terribly costly, and that the planned "investments" are really just subsidies. And, as we know, things that require subsidies aren't competitive in the market, and thus aren't profitable.
Claims that such "investments" will create five million jobs are false. It's likely more jobs will be killed than created due to higher costs and increased inefficiency of the U.S. economy. A recent report from the Center for Data Analysis at the Heritage Foundation found that limiting CO2 emissions under recent proposed legislation would destroy 900,000 net jobs.
Spending money on projects where costs exceed benefits simply to "create jobs" is a bad idea. Taking capital from productive uses and redeploying it to politically popular but nonproductive uses lowers productivity by paying those with "green jobs" more than their output is worth. It's not welfare, it's "greenfare."
The loosely knit coalition is advocating for what Hendricks calls a “green recovery” stimulus that would create jobs with an eye toward conserving resources and reducing reliance on fossil fuels such as coal and oil.
School repairs, for example, could be required to meet green building standards, including low-energy boilers and weatherization. Transportation spending could emphasize public transit, and support for new power sources such as wind and energy could go hand in hand with spending on an efficient electricity superhighway.
Ideas include $2 billion in spending on public transit to reduce fares and expand service, $5 billion in renewable-energy bonds for consumer-owned utilities, $2.5 billion to buy and scrap old polluting cars, and $900 million to help weatherize 1 million homes.
I especially enjoyed the idea of expanding public transit service while reducing fares. Sounds like Amtrak to me.
Yup - the future's so bright, I have to wear sunglasses.
As I said in another post a couple weeks back, any green economy capable of producing five million jobs must cost enough to fund five million jobs. I don’t know how many people are energy workers today since I can’t find a quick link, but I don’t think it’s anywhere near 5 million.
Anything that can fund five million workers (and not minimum wage either) is going to be expensive. Human labor is expensive.
The math isn’t just suspect, it’s insane. No evidence of any comprehension of economics whatsoever.
I have a great idea for a commercial for 2010/2012:
A man is standing in front of a camera. He waves his hand to the people and says, "Hey! Look at the millions of green jobs that President Obama created! Hundreds of thousands of jobs, millions of jobs, that he promised in 2008!"
[Then, show a clip from the 2008 campaign showing Obama promising this.]
"And where they? Right here!"
[Man waves hand, as camera pans back and shows an empty field.
"Barack Obama sure delivered on that promise! Look at all these happy people who are working because of him!"
[Tag line runs: "Don’t let Barack Obama lie his way into four more years. Tell him now that four years of empty promises is enough."]