A Tale of Two "Green" Economies

There’s a new comprehensive report by a reputable think tank that assesses how many and what kinds of jobs are considered to be part of a burgeoning “green” industry.

If you want the spin, go here. If you want an honest deep dive into the report’s numbers, click here.

Whatever works for you.

4 Responses to “A Tale of Two "Green" Economies”

  1. Ken Green says:

    That looks like an interesting report – I’m going to kill a tree printing it so I can study it decently, but from what I’ve read, they’ve at least tried for some analytic rigor and “conservative” definitions. They’re changing the terms of the debate somewhat with the focus on “clean,” rather than “green,” (as I have pointed out elsewhere), but it’s still an interesting study. What I find curious (and I’ve asked the author about) is that the report seems to exclude the people we would historically think of as having “clean” jobs, the EHS (Environmental, Health, and Safety) guys hired by nearly every company of any size. If those people were included, it would boost the “clean jobs” number quite a bit, I’d think.
    Of course, simply counting the jobs doesn’t get to the interesting policy questions, of whether or not a “clean” job is “better,” than a conventional job, or whether society as a whole is “better off” shifting capital around to favor “clean” jobs over conventional jobs. That’s an entirely different set of questions. (Much as with climate change, the value questions are more interesting than the quantitative questions.)
    Thanks for the links, Keith.

  2. EdG says:

    In terms of the green economy versus the actual need for energy, this is rather interesting, to put it mildly:


  3. EdG says:

    From that “honest deep dive into the report’s numbers”:

    “The most common green job? Try waste management and treatment, which employs nearly 400,000 workers””14% of all green jobs… And waste management is followed by mass transit, which employs about 350,000 Americans. There are your most common clean workers: the garbage man and the bus driver.”

    Quite the spin. Ironically, if people really were living more ‘green’ we would need fewer garbage men.

  4. Chuck Kaplan says:

    Hmmm. A study by a progressive think tank reviewed by a progressive magazine and an ultra-left blogger. No possible bias could be involved.

    The report is candid in the difficulties of measuring clean/green business activities, It is a fool’s mission. Garbage workers? Bus drivers? Government bureaucrats? Come on.

    Spain threw a lot of euros at starting a clean economy, and lost its shirt, and had to end the endeavor. Studies showed it lost 2.8 regular jobes for each clean one, because of opportunity costs.

    The attempt by government to call sector winners has never and will never succeed.

    We should improve the environment because it is the right thing to do.  Clean air/water benefits can be estimated.  Increase land banks, etc. Once society has chosen how much “environment” it wants, get out of the way and let the markets do their thing.

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