Spain is a country known for its romance, wine and bullfighting. But
when it comes to economics and green jobs, it seems we're getting more
bull than much else.
Our good friends at Media
Matters jumped right on the case yesterday when Fox News cited a
Spanish "study" about how green jobs somehow destroy other jobs. We've spent a considerable amount of time showing how green jobs are good jobs for America, we were intrigued to find out what was behind this report from Spain. After all, we see reports on a nearly a daily basis showing how wind, solar and other clean energy technologies are adding jobs even now in the depths of the recession.
So let's dig into this "study" a little deeper...
The folks at the media watchdog group, Media Matters, jumped right
on the case yesterday when Fox News cited a Spanish "study".The
problems with the Spanish report start with the author: Professor Gabriel Calzada.
"And just where did that study come from? Professor Gabriel Calzada
is the founder and president of the Fundacion Juan de Mariana, a
libertarian think tank founded in 2005. He's also a fellow of the
Center for New Europe, a Brussels-based libertarian think tank that in
recent years apparently accepted funding from Exxon Mobil."
ExxonSecrets.com reports that the "Center for New Europe"
- where Gabriel Calzada is a visiting fellow - has received $170,000
form ExxonMobil since 1998. Calzada also is tied into the Heartland Institute, another well-known hub of climate science denial.
As Reuters put it - much more kindly then we would have, by the way - "Calzada, as the founder of a libertarian think tank, might not be completely objective."
Of course, it's one thing to have a bias of one kind or another. And it's another to write an unconvincing "study."
"... the study doesn't actually identify those jobs
allegedly destroyed by renewable-energy spending. What the study
actually says is that government spending on renewable energy is less
than half as efficient at job creation as private-sector spending.
Specifically, each green job required on average 571,000 euros,
compared with 259,000 euros in "average capital per worker" in the rest
of the economy."
"So how does that translate into outright job destruction? It's
simply a question of opportunity cost, the paper says: 'The money spent
by the government cannot, once committed to 'green jobs,' be consumed
or invested by private parties and therefore the jobs that would depend
on such consumption and investment will disappear or not be created.'
"On paper, that makes sense. But Spain's support for renewable
energy came out of existing tax revenues-there were no special levies
on corporate activity designed to underwrite clean energy.
"The money the government has spent on clean energy may have edged
out other government spending, but 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." (emphasis added).
The energy industry certainly knows a friend when they see one.
No wonder they invited Calzada to speak at the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change, which
was a sham of an event staged by global warming deniers at the
Heartland Institute. Held March 8-10 in NYC ;the event brought
together so-called scientists, economists, legal experts, and other
specialists who are all climate change skeptics.
On its conference Web site,
the Heartland Institute states that "all of the event's expenses will
be covered by admission fees and individual and foundation donors to
Heartland. No corporate sponsorships or dollars earmarked for the event
were solicited or accepted." Nice try! The DeSmog
Blog compiled a tally on the funding sources of the Heartland Institute
and all the groups listed as co-sponsors of the conference. They
found that "over $47 million from energy companies and right-wing
foundations, with 78 percent of the total flowing from one family of
foundations tied into the oil industry.
Professor Calzada might say "Ole!" We would say "Oily!"