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American Enterprise Institute pushes European zombie attacks on clean energy jobs

By Climate Guest Contributor  

"American Enterprise Institute pushes European zombie attacks on clean energy jobs"

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The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) is still crazy with climate denial and delay after all these years.  They have partnered with other groups that oppose strong climate action, like The Breakthrough Institute, to push right-wing energy myths and attack even the most mainstream strategies like a clean energy standard, which is used by half the states and dozens of countries around the world.  No wonder AEI’s Steven Hayward wrote in 2009: “The brain waves of the American right continue to be erratic, when they are not flat-lining.”

Brad Johnson has the story of AEI’s latest effort, pushing the Big-Oil-funded attack on clean energy jobs.

The oil-soaked American Enterprise Institute is very concerned that President Barack Obama is promoting clean energy investment.  AEI pundit Kenneth Green and his research assistant Hiwa Alaghebandian are worried about reducing our dependence on dirty, dangerous fossil fuels with new clean jobs, they write, based on “the troubling European experience with green energy and job creation.” Green lists “four European countries that went hog wild for renewables, while singing the praises of green jobs: Spain, Italy, Germany, and Denmark,” and cites studies that purport to show the countries “all tried and failed to accomplish positive outcomes with renewable energy”:

THE SPANISH STUDY: “In March 2009, researchers Gabriel Calzada Alvarez and colleagues at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos released a study examining the economic and employment effects of Spain’s aggressive push into renewables.”

The study, “Study of the Effects of Employment of Public Aid to Renewable Energy Sources,” was written by an Exxon-funded right-wing think tank, Instituto Juan de Mariana, then promoted by the Koch Industries propaganda network.

It was thoroughly debunked and eviscerated for elementary methodological flaws by the Spanish government, the Wall Street Journal, the Center for American Progress, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in 2009.

THE ITALIAN STUDY: “A study performed by Luciano Lavecchia and Carlo Stagnaro of Italy’s Bruno Leoni Institute found an even worse situation.”

Like the Spanish study, “Are Green Jobs Real Jobs? The Case of Italy” was published by a right-wing think tank, the Bruno Leoni Institute, founded by the Koch Industries-supported Carlo Lottieri. The institute argues that global warming is a hoax. Their study proudly states that it “followed the methodology employed by Calzada et al.” and thus has the same crippling methodological flaws.

THE GERMAN STUDY: “In a study of the effects of Germany’s aggressive promotion of wind and solar power, Manuel Frondel noted that the German feed-in law required utilities to buy solar power at a rate of fifty-nine cents per kilowatt-hour, far above the normal cost of conventional electricity, which was between three and ten cents. Feed-in subsidies for wind power, he observed, were 300 percent higher than conventional electricity costs.”

Like the Italian and Spanish studies, the “Economic Impacts from the Promotion of Renewable Energies, the German Experience” was produced by a right-wing think tank, RWI Essen. Unlike his counterparts, Dr. Frondel also opposed Germany’s much costlier coal subsidies and supports cap-and-trade systems. Frondel concedes that the feed-in tariff created Germany’s world-class solar and wind industries, but predicts that they will disappear, so the subsidies will have turned out not to be worthwhile. He also notes a reality for Germany that does not apply to the United States “” the feed-in tariffs are complementary policies to high fuel taxes and the European cap-and-trade system, which he supports.

THE DANISH STUDY: “The US Energy Information Administration tells America’s children that “Denmark ranks ninth in the world in wind power capacity, but generates about 20% of its electricity from wind.” That sounds impressive, but is it true? Not according to CEPOS, a Danish think tank, which issued a 2009 report entitled Wind Energy, the Case of Denmark.”

Like the Italian and Spanish studies, “Wind Energy: The Case of Denmark” was produced by an oil-funded right-wing think tank, CEPOS. The “study” was “paid for by an American think tank with close ties to the coal and oil industries,” the Institute for Energy Research. The president of IER, Thomas J. Pyle, is a Koch Industries lobbyist. The study makes the bizarre claim that, although Denmark produces 20 percent of its electricity through wind power, because it sells some of that electricity to its neighbors, it doesn’t count as Danish electricity. This oil-funded hit piece has been repeatedly and thoroughly debunked for having basic methodological flaws by numerous Danish energy experts and NRDC economists.

Even the chief economist of the American Petroleum Institute, John Felmy, has admitted that the green economy creates jobs. Green investments protect the planet, save lives, and strengthen the economy, no matter what language you speak.

Brad Johnson, in a Wonk Room cross-post.

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5 Responses to American Enterprise Institute pushes European zombie attacks on clean energy jobs

  1. Given the German experience, the AEI report has several flaws. It is failing a reality check, it uses scare tactics for misleading results and is financed, around several corners, by Koch Industries:

    1. Failing the reality check: In its German section, the report fails the reality-check. More than 340,000 new jobs have been created in the German renewable energy sector. This already today is more than employment in the German coal and the nuclear sector. The renewable energy sector is acknowledged as a key industry with economic benefits for the country across the political spectrum in Germany. All political parties support a further robust growth of renewable energies. Lead by Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany’s center-right government just passed an energy concept which aims at 80% renewable power by mid-century.

    2. Scare tactics for misleading results: The quoted data in the AEI-report is based on scare tactics to create misleading results. The authors of the original German report (Rheinisch-Westfaelisches Wirtschaftsforschungsinstitut, RWI) draw a worst case scenario for costs. Experts from leading think tanks in Germany (e.g. Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung DIW, Wuppertal Institut) disagree strongly with this assessment. The RWI-report ignores the economic benefits that renewable energies provide. Solar and wind power is replacing the most expensive conventional power during the time of mid-day when demand is high. The most inefficient and dirtiest expansive fossil power plants can stay offline. On top of that, the RWI-report ignores that costs are reduced by the substitution of fossil fuels. Health costs are avoided, because of cleaner air.

    3. Koch Industries is financing the report: The German chapter of the AEI-report is completely based on only one study. This study by RWI was commissioned by the Washington-based Institute for Energy Research which is funded by Koch Industries. The authors of RWI were hiding this information in Germany. They did not want the public to know who was behind the study. This was revealed by the TV-show Monitor and was an embarrassment for RWI (at 6:20 of this clip http://wdr.de/tv/monitor/sendungen/2010/1021/strom.php5). The RWI-report failed to have an impact in the German debate, because of its lack of quality. However, given the connection drawn above, this was not the purpose after all.

  2. K. Nockels says:

    Its hard to believe the people that make up these so-called Institute’s are living on the same planet as us. Are they so greedy,stupid,uncaring and blind that they really believe none of this will affect their own lives or their childrens? It really seems so much more in our faces everyday now, what we need to be doing for the climate, the country and the future. It will I’m afraid become ever more obvious in the near future that they like everyone else must change the way we work and live. Without the move toward green jobs and environmental awarness in this country we will fast become the losers, when we are forced to adopt these changes anyway but have to buy the tech and parts from someone else, but we won’t have the money because we wasted it on our addiction to oil,

  3. Some European says:

    The ‘Spanish study’ tactic is a wonderful example of the carefully crafted manipulation tactics these people use.
    It makes the orator sound incredibly erudite. Nobody’s actually going to check the source.
    It also works perfectly well for Beck when he wants to debunk socialism. He just has to say: “Socialism is a disaster, look at Europe!” None of his viewers know anything about Europe so they’ll take his word for it. After all, he has a black board and he occasionally reads books.
    (this doesn’t mean I want to defend socialism, I’m just saying Europe serves as a wonderful strawman for its opponents)

    Once I talked to a University Professor in medicine who said he’d read a study by a Danish guy about cosmic rays and climate change. I’m sure he convinces at least 90% of his audience when he talks at cocktail parties. He’s a professor and he’s read a study by a Danish professor, so he must know what he’s talking about!

    We should learn as much as we can from our opponents. Their strategies work.

  4. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Some European #3, why not defend socialism? Socialism is just sharing the planet’s wealth and being as concerned about everybody else’s welfare as of one’s own. Capitalism, on the other hand, involves the deliberate impoverishment of as many of the population as the forces of law and order can keep subjugated, and channeling all that wealth ‘liberated’ to a tiny, hereditary, parasitic elite. Like what is happening today in the USA. Like Egypt over the last thirty years, a triumph of free market, neo-liberal capitalism, but a tragedy for its people, who were kept quiet by the preferred means. Your University Professor in medicine seems appropriately credulous for such a lofty academic position. A little research would have shown him that Svensmark et al’s work has been relentlessly criticised and found wanting in numerous ways, although it, naturally, remains a favourite of the denialist cabal.
    These denialist industry ‘studies’ are quaint examples of ‘faith-based science’, where the facts are entirely plastic and can be twisted any which way to come up with the ‘results’ required. The refutations, of course, get no publicity. The pompous titles of these little outposts of the Kochtopus are quite droll, too. Juan de Mariana turns out to be a long, long dead Jesuit historian, who provided some post mortem ammo for the quaint Acton Institute which will be well known to students of the far Right propaganda bedlam. He apparently wrote a quite learned treatise on money and its deliberate debasement by the powers that be, to immiserate the rabble and enrich the top dogs. It sounds like it must be among the favourite bed-time reading of ‘Helicopter’ Ben Bernanke. What the good monk would think of his historical cachet being hijacked by far Right ideologues in the service of destroying humanity, centuries after his death, one can but wonder. Bruno Leoni, on the other hand, was an apparatchik of the Mont Pelerin Society, so almost certainly beyond redemption.

  5. Gordon Parish says:

    Ugh… sort of in this vein, so i hope this is sufficiently on topic…as this is an example of an “artist” propagating some apparent right-wing mythology regarding green energy, and i’m looking for some advice on how to tactfully respond…

    I’m involved in judging an on-line poetry contest and an entry posted tonight, which is actually pretty well written, is seemingly nothing more than a diatribe against green energy – the premise seems to be that our “green” wind turbines are creating toxic wastes and “killing” poor people in China…

    at the risk of infringing on “copyright”, suffice to say, they wind up their poem with a stanza describing how when the narrator sees a wind farm, (s)he has to shake his/her head thinking about the poor people in china suffering and dying because of the toxic sludge resulting from the manufacture of wind turbine components, and laments how selfish we are… (there are some very obvious statements regarding politicians and businessmen getting rich off of this green energy “scam”… and more lament on how much toxic waste will be killing people in these poor countries as we demand/impose more electric cars…)

    Ugh!

    I can’t even capture everything that is wrong with this piece of “literature!” I’d like to fail this just for being so ill informed, but at first blush it seems to be one of the best 3-5 i’ve read!

    Any advice/tips/comments that i could/should use to critique this, while trying to remember to be respectful that it is very likely this author is well meaning, just not well informed, would be greatly appreciated…

    In the meantime, i WILL do my utmost to judge them based on the quality of the writing, not on the missed message… my UTMOST… i swear… i truly swear…