Published April 14, 2009
For the last several months, President Obama has held up Spain, Germany and Japan as countries America needs to emulate in creating so-called green jobs -- those involved in renewable energy production -- to rev up the economy.
"Will America watch as the clean energy jobs and industries of the future flourish in countries like Spain, Japan or Germany?" he asked in January.
But a new report out of Spain says if that country is any indication, Americans shouldn't be depending on green jobs to help the U.S. economy.
Gabriel Calzada Alvarez, a professor, has released a study with startling claims about what's happened in Spain and what he predicts will play out in America.
Calzada says for every green job that's created with government funding, 2.2 regular jobs are lost and that only one in 10 green jobs wind up being permanent.
With billions slated to go toward similar programs in the U.S. the study is sparking new concerns.
"Well it's an awful lot of money that is being funneled," said Patrick Michaels, a senior fellow in environmental studies at the CATO Institute. "If we don't pay for it, I guess we'll get some inflation out of it. Or we could tax people and that would probably cost jobs. Take your pick. You can't get something for nothing."
But critics of the study say it doesn't translate to the U.S. economy and that the dire predictions are overblown.
"A lot of critics have missed the point, acting as if this was sort of all public investments to create government jobs," said Bracken Hendricks, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, who is an expert on environmental issues.
"Nothing could be further from the truth. This is about the private sector, it's about innovating in business and it's about putting the economy back to work."
When asked about the study Tuesday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said he hadn't read it but that if it had any merit, the U.S. wouldn't be busy importing wind turbine parts from Spain to meet the demands for renewable energy here at home.