by Jerry Agar, Toronto Sun
In a fit of whimsical agenda over serious practicality, Green Party leader Elizabeth May told me recently we need more green jobs.
Premier Dalton McGuinty, as we all know, worships “green power.” That sounds caring and all, until we read up and learn that what we are getting for this massive, job-killing cost to the economy is a negligible improvement in air quality and greenhouse gas emissions.
The cost per kilowatt hour of the electricity McGuinty is trying to replace is less than 4¢.
Wind power costs as much as 20¢ and solar can be as high as 80¢.
Madrid’s Universidad Rey Juan Carlos did a study examining the economic and employment effects of Spain’s aggressive green experiment.
• Since 2000, Spain has spent 571,138 euros ($803,050 Cdn) on each green job, including subsidies of more than one million euros ($1,406,054 Cdn) per job in the wind industry.
• These programs destroyed nearly 110,500 jobs elsewhere in the economy (2.2 jobs destroyed for every green job created).
• Each “green” megawatt installed destroyed 5.28 jobs elsewhere in the economy, on average.
Green projects and green jobs are so inefficient, they cannot make it in the competitive market and must be heavily subsidized.
That wasted money could have gone to pay for more jobs elsewhere.
(By the way, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation argues it is a myth that oil companies are subsidized.)
And it isn’t just Spain. Kenneth P. Green, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, reports Italy, Germany, Denmark, the UK, and the Netherlands have all tried and failed to accomplish positive outcomes with renewable energy.
McGuinty pushes Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) policies which mandate that electric utilities must purchase a minimum percentage of electricity generated by renewable energy sources.
A study commissioned by the American Tradition Institute and the Minnesota Free Market Institute found Minnesotans, for example, will pay $15 billion more for electricity between 2016 and 2025 because of the state’s RPS. The study was prepared by economists at the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University in Boston.
Even those who are willing to pay the price in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have to realize that western economies are not the problem.
According to data from the Global Carbon Project, from 2000 through 2007, global total greenhouse gas emissions increased 26%. During that same period, China’s carbon dioxide emissions increased 98%, India’s increased 36%, Russia’s 10%. Carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. increased by 3% during the same period.
China and India have stated they will not impose burdensome emission reductions on their citizens.
The Beacon Hill Institute estimated the economic effects of the RPS mandate. “By 2021 the U.S. will lose an average of 223,000 jobs under a 15% RPS, while a 20% RPS would eliminate 472,000 jobs.”
McGuinty tax advisor Jack Mintz has said: “I have looked at increasing taxes in some areas. For example, I argued for moving toward more carbon taxation.”
Studies on carbon taxes similar to the studies I have already listed show similar results regarding job losses and increased costs — devastating to people on low incomes.
Meanwhile, government spending has increased 77% under McGuinty.
Slashing bloated government will bring more economic benefit and good jobs to Ontario than continuing to blunder into more provably bad energy policies.