Lexington’s notebook blog at The Economist has a short post titled ‘The myth of green jobs:’
We need to do something about global warming. The most straightforward and effective way to reduce carbon emissions would be to tax them. But taxes are bad, and voters don’t like bad things.
This, I think, is why politicians waffle and obfuscate so much about energy policy. John Kerry, who is neither stupid nor ignorant, claims not to know what “cap and trade” means.
And Barbara Boxer, asked what the government should do to create jobs, said we should pass an energy bill, ie, the cap and trade bill that dare not speak its name. This, she said, would “allow this economy to take off“.
For heaven’s sake. The point of putting a cap or a tax on carbon emissions is to curb carbon emissions, thereby saving the planet from cooking. It is not about creating jobs. It will certainly create some, but it will destroy plenty, too.
For every public job created by a bridge project a private job has been destroyed somewhere else. We can see the men employed on the bridge. We can watch them at work…But there are other things that we do not see, because, alas, they have never been permitted to come into existence.
If the government believes green jobs can be created without the loss of non-green jobs, they are living in a dream. If the issue is the environment, leave it at that and accept that there will be a cost.