Wind turbines do not cause jobs. This is something like Frédéric Bastiat's broken window paradox. Had money not been spend on expensive energy sources, that money would have been spent for some other productive use. That is, the same amount of resources could have provided cheaper fossil fuel energy with some resources left over to create more businesses and more jobs and more wealth.In a way, this should be obvious. Ample natural resources are good for the economy. Cheap energy is one such resource. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_broken_windowCheers
FFs have $5T/yr in negative externalties
It’s cheaper to build/operate wind and solar plants than coal plants in 75% of the country now.
David, I agree with you that it's a good idea to pursue wind and solar power. I am in favor.However, the people who make the argument that wind and solar create jobs are looking only at the employees working in that field. They are overlooking the fact that the money used for wind and solar could have been used for other purposes. A nasty name for them would be "economics deniers." But, I will simply say that there's a principle of economics that they're overlooking.Cheers
David the people who make the argument that fossil fuels create jobs are looking only at the employees working in that field. They are overlooking the fact that the money used for fossil fuels could have been used for other purposes.
There's something to be said for giving your dollars to a local turbine technician rather than a Saudi prince. Certainly for cases where wind is cheaper, but maybe even in cases where it is about the same.
David's argument doesn't make sense, because we need electricity by some means. Doesn't it make sense to get it from the cheapest methods available, including negative externalities? (Yes, it does. The argument that wind & solar create jobs is obviously to counter the argument that switching from fossil fuels will reduce jobs. It doesn't. I haven't run the numbers, but I suspect that wind & solar create more jobs per kWh than do coal & natural gas (for electricity)). While still being cheaper. There's no "economics denial" involved, except by those still advocating for (more expensive) fossil fuels."It's now cheaper to build a new wind farm than to keep a coal plant running [without subsidies]," CBS News 11/16/18.https://www.cbsnews.com/news/its-now-cheaper-to-build-a-new-wind-farm-than-to-keep-a-coal-plant-running/ "Locally generated solar and wind energy could already replace almost three-fourths of electricity made by U.S. coal plants for less than the cost of continuing to operate those plants, according to an analysis released today by two clean energy research groups."- "Analysis: New wind, solar cheaper than operating most existing coal plants," Energy News Network, 3/25/19.https://energynews.us/2019/03/25/midwest/analysis-new-wind-solar-cheaper-than-operating-most-existing-coal-plants/
David, I mostly agree with you. Wind and solar should be pursued for the reasons you give. However, those who make the claim are not arguing from your sophisticated POV. I think the people who assert that wind and solar create jobs are basing their claim on the workers who would be hired to build and maintain the wind and solar facilities. This is a common fallacious claim by politicians and lobbyists who want to give government money to some purpose.Cheers
David, that's a junky argument. You have completely backtracked without admitting it.What exactly does this mean, esp the 2nd sentence?"I think the people who assert that wind and solar create jobs are basing their claim on the workers who would be hired to build and maintain the wind and solar facilities. This is a common fallacious claim by politicians and lobbyists who want to give government money to some purpose."
David, you are right. I did backtrack. Originally I said wind turbines don't cause jobs. Now, I made a weaker statement that people who claim that wind turbines cause are reaching that conclusion though invalid reasoning. The second sentence means that when some government spending is contemplated, proponents of that spending often use alleged job creation as one justification. That's because the money would be used to hire people to do some work. But, I claim that's fallacious reasoning, because that money would be used to create jobs some other way if it weren't being used by the particular program under consideration.Cheers
DiC writes: "But, I claim that's fallacious reasoning, because that money would be used to create jobs some other way if it weren't being used by the particular program under consideration."That's nice. But your reasoning is fallacious. Different ways of spending $1 support different numbers of jobs; some (such as spending on renewable energy) create more jobs per dollar spent than do others (such as spending on military hardware or conventional non-renewable energy) because of differences among sectors in the ratio of labor inputs to capital inputs.So proponents of renewable energy are correct; spending money on this purpose does in fact create more jobs than reallocating the same amount of money to various other comparable purposes.
David wrote:"The second sentence means that when some government spending is contemplated, proponents of that spending often use alleged job creation as one justification. That's because the money would be used to hire people to do some work. But, I claim that's fallacious reasoning, because that money would be used to create jobs some other way if it weren't being used by the particular program under consideration."David, money is fungible, but not in that way. Not all spending is equal in terms of creating jobs. And not all jobs are equal in terms of what they pay. Some spending creates jobs overseas, not in America. A wealthy person might park their money abroad than spend it in the US, or they might spend it abroad. I might put my money in the bank, where it creates fewer jobs than if I were to buy a new car.But this seems tangential to me. We need energy -- doesn't it make sense to buy it from the cheapest source (including pollution costs)? And the real reason for Inslee's statement is that many have argued that ending fossil fuel consumption will cost the jobs of coal miners and oil and gas workers. It would (and unfortunately that's just the way of the world, or buggywhip makers would still be employable), but other jobs arise in place of them. And as Ned clarified, renewable energy creates more jobs per unit of energy than fossil fuels jobs. Although some health care jobs might disappear as Americans breathe in less pollution and coal miners breathe in less dust. That'd be a good thing.
I whipped up some job numbers here. Have a look:https://davidappell.blogspot.com/2019/06/jobs-by-energy-source.html
Arguing that coal mining should continue for the sake of the miners makes as little economic sense as arguing that wind turbines should be built for the sake of the turbine workers. Coal miners are working to produce something useful to the public, not the other way 'round. The miners should serve the public, not the public should serve the miners.If coal is not a useful product, we should stop mining it. P.S. Unfortunately, the world is not close to the place where coal no longer serves the public. Despite coal's health hazards, it provides a big share of the world's energy.P.P.S. Unfortunately, arguments that don't make economic sense may make political sense. Trump benefited from the coal mining towns economic distress. Various well-connected people have benefited from government support for "green energy".Cheers
This is why conservatives need to fight for a revenue neutral carbon tax. Let the markets pick the winners and losers.
David wrote:"Coal miners are working to produce something useful to the public, not the other way 'round."So is the wind industry. And now cheaper, with fewer negative externalities.In capitalism, both parties are "giving" something useful. The public gets coal and ultimately electricity, and the miners get wages and benefits. Sir Nicholas Stern said, "Climate change is a result of the greatest market failure that the world has seen."
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