Are ‘green jobs’ for real?

Are ‘green jobs’ for real? San Antonio’s Mission Verde plan envisions “green jobs” filled by “green workers” trained at community colleges and universities. But it’s not clear the jobs exist.

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  1. Richard Nieporent says:

    Of course they exist. Municipalities need highly skilled people to separate the paper, glass and metals in the recycling bins.

  2. I think there is such a thing as a job in a green industry, sure. Are there tons of them open waiting for a newbie to fill? Nah.

  3. From what I have read, this is a boondoggle of major proportions.

  4. Richard Aubrey says:

    I believe a recent study in Spain found that a new green job cost a fraction over two regular jobs.

  5. Michael E. Lopez says:

    I’m still waiting for someone to give me a definition of “green jobs” so that I can start to figure out the answer to this question.

  6. Green jobs are real, but most folks attending community college aren’t likely to have the skills necessary to get a decent-paying one. I know a bunch of folks making good money in green jobs but they’re Stanford & Harvard graduates, mostly with master’s degrees in engineering, architecture, business administration, etc.

  7. Michael E. Lopez- here are some examples of green jobs held by acquaintances:

    -equity research analyst covering cleantech sector
    -venture capitalist specializing in cleantech
    -hedge fund manager specializing in cleantech
    -LEED certified architects
    -finance guy at Tesla Motors
    -engineer for Tesla
    -sales manager for SolarCity

    Plus a bunch of folks who are involved in start-ups in various capacities.

  8. This “green energy” mess is nothing more than a fraud. It doesn’t work and no, these jobs don’t exist and never will. I’m so sick of the fools in D.C. thinking they know best about technology and energy. This is nothing more than social engineering. Because of the constant denigration of oil, coal and everything else that makes civilization possible; this is total nonsense.

  9. I think “for real” means, are they jobs that would exist absent the massive subsidies every aspect of the “green” industry is dependent upon?

    Of course those jobs wouldn’t exist since the entire “green” sector of the economy wouldn’t exist but for massive subsidies. So the answer is no.

  10. Richard Aubrey says:

    Crimson Wife
    The jobs involved in hustling green subsidies don’t count. They’re simply parasiting on the parasites. There is no economic benefit to them and their cost and the associated regulations kill real jobs, two for one in Spain.
    Al Gore, who finally decided he’s rich enough to come clean, admitted that corn-based ethanol saves virtually no energy. However, he promoted it, he says, because he was fond of the farmers of Tennessee. And he was, he says further, fond of Iowa farmers prior to the Iowa caucus some elections back.
    It’s all about the benjamins and getting yourself into a place to suck some of the benjamins into your own pocket may be a green job but isn’t any use to the rest of us who have to pay for it.

  11. How is a welder working on a solar-thermal plant any different, in terms of the skills required, from a welder working on a gas-fired plant?

    How is a CFO for a wind-power-equipment startup different, in terms of the skills required, from a CFO of any other manufacturing company?

  12. The techonologies aren’t economical now given the current cost of fossil fuels but eventually they will be. At some point, we are going to hit “peak oil” and there’s a very real threat of geopolitical instability in the Middle East and Africa causing supply disruptions before then.

    And when cleantech does become cost-effective, do you want all the infrastructure to be in China’s hands or do you want some of it to be here in the U.S.?

  13. Richard Aubrey says:

    david foster
    How are the two different? They are being paid to do something which wastes money and does not save energy on an aggregate basis. They are paid with subsidies, which is to say with taxpayer money. When that is all spent, the welder paid, the CFO or CEO has things running smoothly, the result is…a waste.
    Meantime, the economic benefits that could be generated by not spending the money on green jobs are not generated.
    Example: We’re having some big noise, so to speak, around our place about huge wind turbines. Discovered that, considering the energy necessary to build them, they’re a wash. Might, under favorable circumstances, generate about as much as they cost. Why bother? But the subsidies are what moves them. The subsidies and the fools who pretend not to know that East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit was busted.

  14. Richard Aubrey says:

    Crimson wife
    Among other things, green generally replaces coal, not oil. We have a great deal of oil, but political instability in Congress has put much of it off limits.
    Let somebody else pay the R&D costs for green, should there ever be any useful green tech. The Japanese after WW II and the Chinese now aren’t selling their own inventions.
    China’s future is coal, they’ve decided.
    The problem with green is that it depends on solar energy, either directly, or as wind power, or in conjunction with the moon, tidal power. It depends on hydro which means solar energy lifting evaporating water and dumping it upstream.
    Conventional energy is drawing on a bank of tens of millions of years of solar energy captured in coal, natural gas and oil. It is concentrated, in other words.
    You’ll note that Scotland, proudly green,, finds its wind energy turbines don’t work amidst their current global warming and they are buying electric from France, whose source is generally nuclear. Scotland forbids nuclear, after two plants now in service are decommissioned in a few years. So they’ll be able to preen and buy energy from France. Win/win, I suppose.
    See nuclear and fusion.
    That’s where we’ll get energy in the future. Trying to capture insolation as it arrives is far less efficient.

  15. Michael E. Lopez says:

    OK, so here’s what I get from Crimson Wife’s post:

    “Green Jobs” are jobs that are:

    1) At electric vehicle companies; or
    2) At solar energy companies; or
    3) At a “cleantech” company.

    I don’t get it. We’ve got all the “infrastructure” we could want on 1 & 2 — what we’re missing is demand, and as soon as we run out of oil and coal and natural gas, the demand will be there. (Maybe not for electric cars, because electricity will be too expensive at that point, but whatever.) Really: it’s a demand problem, not a supply problem.

    As for “cleantech” — I suppose I got what I wanted. The definition of “green” is apparently “cleantech.”

    I don’t suppose we know what that means, do we?

  16. The only ‘green’ job that I know of is the guy that cuts my lawn. No college degree… heck, not even US citizenship is needed. (Not really, my wife would kill me if I hired someone to cut our lawn).

    That being said, all the green jobs are going to veteran engineers and other professionals who have years of experience in non-green jobs.

  17. “cleantech” is a shorthand way to refer to all the various renewable energies- biofuels, solar, geothermal, wind, hydro, etc. plus energy storage (like fuel cells), and energy efficiency (like hybrid vehicles).

    Coal is still a fossil fuel and will eventually run out. Plus it releases carbon when it’s burned so there’s the whole greenhouse emissions/climate change aspect.

  18. Richard Aubrey says:

    The global warming scam became so obvious that the powers that be changed it to global climate change which was so ridiculous–doesn’t climate change?–that the new name is global climate disruption. That way, any severe storm is retroactively the fault of …western technology.
    CRU at East Anglia was busted over a year ago (“hide the decline…”)
    Coal will eventually run out. By that time, we can have nuclear and fusion. Renewable energy is trying to use insolation as it arrives, a horribly inefficient technique. Fuel cells store energy coming from…?
    Greentech is a huge boondoggle.
    Everybody knows better including those who pretend not to.
    Anybody got anything bad to say about the Medieval Warm Period? How much fun was the Little Ice Age, anyway? And whose fault were they?

  19. “The jobs involved in hustling green subsidies don’t count.” Especially not for community college graduates. For those jobs, you need contacts among the Ivy League graduates handing out the moolah.

  20. If new technologies are worth the investment, private investment will do it; otherwise, it’s just more taxpayer money being poured down another rat hole, creating more regulation and more bureaucracy (again, at taxpayer expense). The EPA fulfilled its original mission decades ago (I’m old enough to remember what that was) and is now a huge impediment to construction of any sort and it enables armies of lawyers who file lawsuits that are a major revenue stream for the lefty-green axis.

  21. “Eventually”, in the case of coal, being several hundred years and, oh by the way, dusting off a unlikely hypothesis in support of economically untenable politics is, as it’s quite clearly turning out, not the best of ideas.

    It is enormously gratifying to see the self-appointed enviro-nobility suffering one reversal after another and being forced to pursue increasingly risky and unpromising avenues to try to advance your narcissistic policies however.

  22. Foobarista says:

    Yes, there are “green” jobs, but they’re often not what the bureaucracy thinks they are. The best “green” initiatives have been in things like redesigned CPUs that use vastly less energy, “smart” HVAC management systems, etc. They aren’t generally completely “new” stuff.

    The problem with focusing on power generation is that both solar and wind, even if they become viable without subsidies, will still be manufacturing processes, and will be done wherever manufacturing can be done most cheaply and efficiently. And that won’t be California, for all the reasons that no entrepreneur would build any manufacturing plant in CA, green or otherwise, unless there was lots of government $$$ involved (ie, Tesla).

    Also, if we shot all the eco-lawyers and sundry “activists”, nuclear power would stand above all of them in its sheer greenness and ability to deliver electricity.

  23. If we, like the French, had enough nuclear power plants to provide 75-85% of our stationary energy needs and actually used our fossil fuel resources for our mobile needs, we wouldn’t be dependent on unstable and/or unfriendly foreign countries. Decreasing their influence on the world stage is certainly a consummation devoutly to be wished; not to mention the fact that some (Saudi Arabia, especially) are hotbeds of terrorist propaganda and funding.

  24. Richard Aubrey says:

    Is it wrong of me to think of Saudi Arabia without any oil money coming in?

  25. Without the oil money, maybe they wouldn’t have enough to fund “Middle-Eastern Studies” (aka anti-Western and Islamic/terrorist apologist) departments in colleges, Islamic (ditto) k-12 schools, lots of free “educational materials” (ditto) for public schools/educators and an endless supply of imams for all uses (including prisons), in this country.

  26. Richard Aubrey says:

    Or eat.

  27. How is a welder working on a solar-thermal plant any different, in terms of the skills required, from a welder working on a gas-fired plant?

    Given the thermal cycling of solar plants compared to fossil-fired plants, I suspect that the materials and techniques may differ slightly (seat-of-the-pants guess).

    At some point, we are going to hit “peak oil”

    Already hit it over 5 years ago.  We were on the “bumpy plateau” through 2008 (prices rocketed while production hardly budged) and fell off it when the financial system broke under the strain.  Now we are seeing the “export-land model” where oil producers’ profits pump up their domestic consumption as production falls, and exports drop much faster.

    Time to order that Volt or Leaf.

    And when cleantech does become cost-effective, do you want all the infrastructure to be in China’s hands

    What we really need is nuclear, but our crazy politics have let China take the lead from us there too.

    Unfortunately, nuclear isn’t a substitute for oil without electric vehicles or technology we haven’t done squat to develop since 1969 (the Molten Salt Reactor, which runs hot enough to drive chemical reactions).

    I’m all for letting the Saudis eat oil.

  28. Actually, I have a “green job”. I work for an energy management company. We install systems in commercial buildings that regulate and monitor HVAC systems, lighting and other energy-intensive items. Companies pay real (not subsidized) money for such systems because they save enough energy to pay for themselves quickly. In terms of ROI, they’re just a good investment, no government programs or intervention required.

    It’s easy to save 10-30 percent of the energy used by commercial buildings, with proven, existing technology. It’s not even very expensive.

    Of course, the government has no interest in this sort of thing: there’s no way for a politician to make a buck on it.