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The End of Green Jobs

December 9, 2014

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issued its last green jobs report in 2011.
Did this mean the end of green jobs?

Obviously not, but it did put an end to unjustified manipulation of reporting on the number of green jobs being created.

Green job creation is the benefit recited ad nauseam by politicians promoting clean energy.

Unfortunately, green job creation isn’t what it was claimed to be.

The report by Spanish economist Gabriel Calzada Álvarez PhD, of the University Juan Carlos, established that 2.2 traditional jobs were lost for every green job created.

The report was attacked by those promoting clean energy, and the concept of green jobs remains a talking point of politicians promoting clean energy.

What’s more damning, however, were the BLS reports on green jobs and how jobs were categorized as green. The revelation of which jobs were green, during Congressional testimony, raised a few eyebrows, to say the least.

In March 2013, the BLS, reported that jobs associated with green goods and services in 2011 amounted to 3.4 million jobs, an increase of 158,000 green jobs over the prior year.

BLS, under questioning, admitted it had a broad definition of what constituted a green job.

It amounted to defining a green job as a job in any capacity, no matter how remotely associated with clean energy, in any facility that could be described as green.

  • If a person swept the floor in a solar-panel facility, it would be counted as a green job.
  • If a person drove a hybrid bus in a city transportation department, it would be counted as a green job.
  • If a person worked in a bicycle shop, it would be counted as a green job.
  • If a person sold recycled goods at the Salvation Army, it would be counted as a green job.
  • If a person collected garbage, it would be counted as a green job.

While collecting garbage is a hard job, for which people don’t get much credit, they can hardly be described as being green. They certainly can’t be remotely associated with clean energy, unless the trash is burned in a power plant, and even that is a stretch.

The person driving a hybrid school bus is doing a commendable job for the community, but the job is hardly green because the bus is a hybrid.

It wasn’t mentioned in the testimony, but taxi cab drivers using hybrids, such as a Prius, could also be classified as green using the BLS model.

The concept of green jobs is fictitious from the outset.

Cover of Green Jobs Report by Institute for Energy Research

Cover of Green Jobs Report by Institute for Energy Research

Fundamentally, the job is green if it’s not associated with fossil fuels.

But the greenest jobs of all are not seen as being green.

Forest rangers, farmers, marine biologists, landscapers, fishermen and linemen who work outdoors, mostly with their hands, and who are often involved with promoting and protecting the environment, are not seen as being green.

Green jobs really aren’t about the environment, they are about politics and CO2 emissions.

It’s good the BLS stopped issuing the green jobs report.

Now, if we could just get politicians from talking about fictitious green jobs.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. December 10, 2014 7:21 am

    A few years ago, one of the community colleges that I work for as an adjunct decided to categorize courses as “sustainability” courses. There are two ratings – Number 1 (the most sustainable) and Number 2 (less sustainable). I teach geology – my course is rated Number 2. I have noticed an increase in “sustainability” courses in other colleges as well. I wonder if schools are starting to be rated by these types of courses. I have noticed an increase in “sustainability” projects at schools. Perhaps Green Jobs will be replaced by Sustainability Jobs in the future.

    • December 10, 2014 8:14 am

      Thanks for your comment. I do not know what the colleges are doing with respect to green jobs or sustainability.
      I have always been concerned with the term sustainability, because it is so meaningless.
      There is no concrete definition of sustainability, so the term gets bandied about indiscriminately.
      It sounds good, which is why people use the term, but it has little real meaning.
      Perhaps you can provide additional thoughts on sustainability.

  2. December 13, 2014 7:32 am

    I just received a teaching assignment at Kean University, Union, NJ. My department now has a B.S. degree in this “field.”

    Here’s the description –

    The B.S. in Sustainability Science, the only degree of its kind in New Jersey and one of only a dozen degree programs in the nation with such a focus. The mission of this program is to prepare students in the emerging discipline of sustainability science that focuses in three main areas: environment, economy, and society. It is designed to prepare students to understand four specific questions:
    • What are the unique characteristics of Earth that have allowed life to develop and to flourish?
    • What specific human actions are compromising these unique characteristics?
    • Why are these human actions occurring?
    • With an understanding of 1, 2, and 3 (above), what corrective actions are necessary?


    Sounds like Environmental Science to me.

    • December 13, 2014 9:07 am

      I looked at the web site and here is what it said in bold type:
      “Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources…. A great change in our stewardship of the Earth and the life on it is required.”
      This represents the thinking of the hard left, not just of extreme environmentalists.
      It’s a shame that parents and others will be paying for this type of indoctrination that is more about what’s wrong with capitalism than anything else.
      Thanks for brining this to people’s attention.

  3. Ivan Quinchia permalink
    January 11, 2015 12:31 pm

    I posted this as a rebuttal to posted Green jobs contribution to job numbers in Massachusetts.

    Your article on green jobs in Mass points to jobs created installing energy efficient HVAC systems and nothing could be further from the truth.

    Coming from that industry, one of the many metrics that we used to determine our HVAC dealers capacity was the dealers productivity which we broke down by types of systems that they installed broken down by efficiency brackets.

    The top tier in efficiency which yielded the highest margins for the dealer, only represented about 5% of the dealers volume and our efforts were always to try to increase that top tier by pushing the dealer into shifting capacity from the lower tiers; statistically never did it require for the dealers to add more install capacity so zero jobs were created.

    It’s amazing the liberties that these organizations and agencies take with data and almost never is it verified before its published.

    The other thing that needs to be pointed out is that all of these high efficiency programs are subsidized by the rate payer with fees added to gas, electric and even oil bills. Perhaps finding out how many dollars are collected would be a good start.

    Those programs are being run by the utilities thru third party organizations that are eating up .90 cents on each dollar that is collected thru these fees driving only 10% to the actual program.

    If you would like to dig up some facts, interview executives from Cool Smart, Gas Networks, Conservation Services Group and Mass Save and ask where their funding comes from, how much they get and how much they pay out in rebates.

    I think that you will find the information enlightening.

    • January 11, 2015 1:28 pm

      Not sure what you are referring to.
      I don’t mention Green Jobs in Massachusetts. Did I mention them somewhere else?

      • Ivan Quinchia permalink
        January 11, 2015 2:11 pm


        Sorry that I was not clear. This was nearly an attemt in my part to point out the liberty that some organizations private and state take with job number creation by green technologies.

  4. January 11, 2015 2:20 pm

    Ivan. Ok, thanks. Appreciate your comment.

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