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You may have heard the following "statistic" cited by opponents of economic initiatives designed to spur clean energy expansion and green job growth: two jobs will be lost for every green job created. The GOP leadership, Fox News broadcasters, and other pundits and columnists have been using the stat to push their opposition to a clean energy economy. But much like the GOP's misleading line on how expensive the climate bill will be, that little talking point has turned out to be entirely baseless: the much-cited Spanish study it's pulled from has just been thoroughly debunked by the US Dept. of Energy. Despite the study being outed as flawed numerous times, it continued to have traction with opponents of green economic initiatives. Perhaps this report will kill it once and for all.
As Brad Johnson points out over at the Wonk Room,
the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) finds that the Spanish authors’ claim that renewable support kills jobs “is not supported by their work.“And he quotes from the NREL study (pdf):
The analysis by the authors from King Juan Carlos University represents a significant divergence from traditional methodologies used to estimate employment impacts from renewable energy. In fact, the methodology does not reflect an employment impact analysis. Accordingly, the primary conclusion made by the authors – policy support of renewable energy results in net jobs losses – is not supported by their work.Amazingly, the study merely calculates two ratios of Spanish economic figures ("renewable subsidies vs. private capital and subsidies vs. average productivity"), makes dubious, overblown conclusions about the Spanish economy--and then superimposes them onto the US.
And this is the study that clean energy economy opponents were using (and will likely continue to use, given their history) as a key point. Check out the Wonk Room for more info, or the NREL's full report to see just how flimsy the original anti-green job "findings" were.