In a new letter, an official from the region powering Spain’s renewable industry calls “completely untrue” a study critical of green jobs in his country being promoted today by the Heritage Foundation. The study, from the libertarian think tank Fundacion Juan de Mariana, argued that “for every green job created [in Spain], 2.2 jobs are lost.” Before today’s Heritage event, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Fox News, Western Business Roundtable, National Review, and the American Enterprise Institute have all cited this Spanish study. However, José María Roig Aldasoro, the Regional Minister of Innovation, Enterprise and Employment for the Government of Navarre responds that green investment “has created wealth, employment and technological development” in Spain:
An article was published recently which has placed a doubt in renewable energy’s ability to create employment; it states that it destroys employment, and therefore, is a factor in the social impoverishment of a country. As I will demonstrate, this statement is completely untrue. In Navarre, the development of renewable energies, and above all wind energy, has created wealth, employment and technological development, and I can assert that this can be achieved in any other region or country.
Aldasoro explains the actual history of green job creation in Navarre:
— 1994: Unemployment at 12.8%, first wind farm erected.
— 1998: Unemployment at 10%, 100 installed megawatts of wind power.
— 2001: Unemployment at 6.8%, two R&D and worker-training centers are opened.
— 2007: Unemployment of 4.76%, total of 100 new renewable-energy companies created, representing 5% of total GDP.
The report relies on bad numbers, grossly underestimating that Spain’s renewable program created only 50,000 jobs, when official estimates are 188,000. Indeed, the study is claiming that “government spending on renewable energy is less than half as efficient at job creation as private-sector spending,” the Wall Street Journal’s Keith Johnson explains. Critics neglect to say that “Spain’s support for renewable energy came out of existing tax revenues,” so “it’s hard to see how it could have edged out private-sector spending, especially when the Socialist government there has reduced corporate income-tax rates, most recently this past January.”
Yet the Heritage Foundation chose to host the author of this flawed report, Dr. Gabriel Calzada, at an event entitled “Busting the Myth of Green Jobs.” Calzada was joined by Robert Murphy, from the Institute for Energy Research, a fossil-fuel industry think tank, and York College professor William T. “Tom” Bogart, who co-authored a paper for the Institute of Energy Research that called green jobs a “Ponzi scheme.” Heritage, which recently compared green economic reform to Nazi-Soviet collectivism, is continuing its slide into irrelevance.
The reality is that investment in renewable energy sectors creates millions more jobs than does investment in traditional energy sectors, because investment can flow into employing people instead of extracting fuel to burn. The Apollo Alliance reports that “renewable energy creates more jobs than coal: the same investment creates 50% more jobs in wind and in solar than in coal. Energy efficiency is far more labor intensive than generation, creating 21.5 jobs for every $1 million invested, compared to 11.5 jobs for new natural gas generation.” According to a Greenpeace International and European Renewable Energy Council study, building a green economy that would cut United States greenhouse emissions by 45% by 2030 would create a net 7.8 million jobs versus business as usual.
Download the complete letter from Navarre Minister Aldasoro.
Media Matters notes that the entire Heritage Foundation panel received money from Exxon Mobil.