Posted by: Sara Shipley Hiles | June 25, 2009

Taking aim at green jobs and climate change

Washington Post columnist George F. Will today criticized President Obama’s green jobs plan, citing a report by a Spanish economist that government subsidies for “green jobs” in Spain far exceeded the value of the jobs. The study says jobs at wind farms and other renewable energy sources in Spain were only temporary and required between $752,000 to $1.4 million in government investment.

Will acknowledged that the study in question was paid for by a U.S. think tank (the Institute for Energy Research) that once paid Will for a speech. Still, Will questioned the wisdom of green jobs and whether they will save the environment and the economy.

What I found noteworthy in this column was its flavor of climate skepticism:

When the president speaks of “new green energy economies” creating “countless well-paying jobs,” perhaps they really are countless, meaning incapable of being counted.For fervent believers in governments’ abilities to control the climate and in the urgent need for them to do so, believing is seeing: They see, through their ideological lenses, governments’ green spending as always paying for itself. This is a free-lunch faith comparable to that of those few conservatives who believe that tax cuts always completely pay for themselves by stimulating compensating revenue from economic growth.

It seems that Obama’s election has ramped up anti-climate-change rhetoric, much as it has brought out anti-gun-control advocates and white supremacist groups. (Not that I’m comparing the three groups.) With government action on climate change seeming more imminent, those who remain skeptical seem to have become more vocal.

Is this part of a climate backlash?


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