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Green Jobs Lead to More Pink Slips

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Green Jobs Lead to More Pink Slips

Op-ed in The Detroit News

Repower America, a green energy advocacy organization founded by Former Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore, is running television advertisements in northern Michigan to pressure U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) into supporting the American Clean Energy and Security Act, a major climate bill working through Congress.

The ads make some bold claims about the costs and benefits of fighting climate change. Almost none of them are true.

Stupak, a moderate Democrat, is worried about the economic impact of global warming policies. His concerns are justified -- all climate change "solutions" are designed to raise the price of energy.

Burning fossil fuels to create energy is the primary source of greenhouse gases thought to cause climate change, but this process also accounts for 85 percent of America's energy. The entire point of the American Clean Energy and Security Act is to make these hydrocarbon energy sources costlier so consumers have more incentive to emit less.

The Repower America ads ignore higher energy costs and instead boast of 61,000 new "green" jobs that would be created in Michigan by regulating greenhouse gas emissions. That's misleading. Michigan "pays" for green jobs by eliminating jobs in companies that supply or use large quantities of conventional energy.

But don't take my word for it. Last year, Peter R. Orszag, President Barack Obama's top budget official, told Congress: "The higher prices that would result from a cap on CO2 emissions would reduce demand for energy and energy-intensive goods and services and thus create losses ... for workers in the sectors of the economy that supply such products."

Michigan is world famous for making cars, which is an energy-intensive industry. For the Wolverine State, carbon controls would generate not green jobs, but pink slips. The National Association of Manufacturers estimates that Michigan would lose up to 121,000 jobs by 2030 under a law similar to the one that Stupak is considering.

There's more. The ads claim that "repowering America," presumably by enacting the American Clean Energy and Security Act, is "one of the fastest ways" to stop "killing our planet." That's untrue. Using the same emissions scenarios employed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, environmental scientist Chip Knappenberger calculates that the act, if enacted, would reduce global warming by nine hundredths of one degree Fahrenheit. Clearly, this bill is all pain and no gain.

With great chutzpah, Repower America implores Michigan to "get real." In fact, it is their green energy ads that are entirely make-believe.

William Yeatman is an energy policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and a contributor to globalwarming.org.