Green Jobs or Shale Gas? The Numbers Talk
The shale gas industry’s boom is creating 100,000 jobs in Pennsylvania during 2010, according to Penn State University. Only a few of these new jobs are on drill rigs; many of those jobs go to highly-skilled oil patch veterans from out of state. But the gas industry’s expansion has created jobs by the tens of thousands in steel production, construction, and services.
More important, the clean, low-cost energy from the shale gas will go on creating additional jobs in every Northeast regional industry that needs energy—meaning all of them. The shale gas boom is creating similar huge job gains throughout Appalachia, Texas, and Louisiana, with the new shale drilling system also about to expand in the huge Bakken oil shale deposits under the Dakotas and Montana.
Meanwhile, the giant state of California has created only 48,000 "green jobs" over the 13 years from 1995 to 2008. Green jobs still make up only 1 percent of California’s economy. Worse, says State Senator Bob Dutton, the high energy taxes needed to create those few green jobs are at the same time killing millions of jobs in all sorts of industries across the state. California’s unemployment has soared from less than 5 percent to more than 12 percent since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the California Global Warming Solutions Act three years ago.
The governor promised that the global warming tax would "create a whole new industry to pump up our economy, a clean-tech industry that creates jobs, sparks new cutting-edge technology and will be a model for the rest of the nation and the rest of the world." Instead, the global warming taxes will drive up the prices of all non-renewable energy—as they were intended to do.
California taxpayers will now pay for wind turbines and solar panels made in China, while California has lost more than 600,000 manufacturing jobs. Business relocation specialist Joseph Vranich says he’s working full time to help companies flee California’s rising costs and restrictions. He warns that no one is calling about moving into the Golden State.
Senator Dutton points to CalPortland Cement, which has cancelled its California expansion plans and is considering a Nevada location instead. It recently closed a cement operation in Colton, laying off 100 workers.
That’s a preview of the "green jobs" impact. The manufacturing—and farming—will be done in places that don’t impose energy taxes. If the Congress imposes import tariffs, that still won’t provide cost-effective energy for American farming, manufacturing, or transport. With far less energy available, our standards of living must drop dramatically.
The Wall Street Journal reports the Southern California Public Power Authority is warning of a 30 percent hike in electric rates. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has told business to expect a 21 percent hike this year. LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says the city must raise rates because "the State is breathing down our necks . . . where we could be looking at fines of $300 million [in 2012] and $600 million on top of that."
All of this in spite of the low correlation between CO2 and our thermometer records—22 percent. The correlation with sunspots is 79 percent. Does Washington care? Or does President Obama want $6 gasoline, tripled electric bills—and $800 billion per year in energy taxes to "spread the wealth" among his allies?
DENNIS T. AVERY is an environmental economist, and a senior fellow for the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC. He was formerly a senior analyst for the Department of State. He is co-author, with S. Fred Singer, of Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Hundred Years, Readers may write him at PO Box 202, Churchville, VA 24421 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.