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« Scenes from the 9-12 Rally | Main | Obama Administration Adds More to Debt Than 40 Presidents »
Friday
Sep102010

Obama's "Green" Agenda Means Pink Slips for Many American Workers

Source: iStockphotoWith the latest jobs numbers showing that unemployment rose again for August to an alarming 9.6 percent and the workforce lost another 54,000 workers, how can it be that the Obama Administration still doesn’t get it?

“We are taking actions,” said Labor Secretary Hilda Solis in a video address released on Labor Day, “that have meaning today and tomorrow.”

Those “actions” are the costly stimulus programs; the “tomorrow” is the “clean” energy that, as Ms. Solis said, will “reenergize the American manufacturing sector.”

Ms. Solis:

I’ve long believed that green jobs can be great jobs, and jobs every American can take advantage of. Green jobs can be a new and exciting pathway to the middle class and these jobs will not be outsourced. 

But believing isn’t seeing.

Rather than creating the 800,000 new jobs by 2012 as President Obama promised, the “green” energy initiative is destroying jobs, as Greenwire describes here (subscription required for link access):

General Electric Co.’s last major American factory producing regular incandescent light bulbs is closing this month, showing that a push to produce greener products could cost jobs in the United States.

The plant’s closure stems from a 2007 energy measure passed by Congress that effectively banned ordinary incandescent bulbs by 2014, forcing most U.S. homes to switch to more energy-efficient ones. There will be energy savings and reductions in greenhouse gases, but the measure also sent bulb manufacturing overseas, largely to China. Production of compact fluorescents, or CFLs, requires more hand labor, which makes production in China cheaper.

The remaining 200 workers at the GE plant in Virginia will lose their jobs. Many are worried they won’t be able to find new work.

“Everybody’s jumping on the green bandwagon,” said Pat Doyle, who worked at the plant for 26 years. But “we’ve been sold out. First sold out by the government. Then sold out by GE.”…

News of job losses from a costly “green” government program that was supposed to create jobs is hard to swallow. But now comes a report showing that energy-efficient lighting is likely to increase energy consumption, not the reverse. This from my favorite blogger James Gattuso (and—for complete disclosure—also my husband) in “And Then There Was Light: Will Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs Increase Energy Use?”:

It seemed so simple: To reduce energy use, Americans must abandon the old-fashioned incandescent light bulb in favor of new energy-efficient lighting. Congress even passed legislation in 2007 mandating a phase-out of the familiar “Edison” bulb in the name of saving energy.

Now comes a study concluding that energy-efficient lighting will likely increase energy use. The study, sponsored by Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, is based on the observation that the percentage of gross national product spent on artificial lighting has remained remarkably constant for the past three hundred years. Instead of using advances in technology to reduce expenditures on energy, individuals have consistently opted to take advantage the lower costs made possible by those advances to increase the light around them.

The same result is likely with new technologies, the new study’s authors find, focusing particularly on solid-state lighting technologies such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The increase in energy use may be substantial. The report estimates that the total consumption of light could increase by a factor of 10 over the next two decades. And the amount of energy used to produce that light could double.

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