Green jobs are not the answer to solving the current economic crisis

A green job is the latest trend in global labour market and employment sector. As green job is considered “work in agricultural, manufacturing, research and development, administrative, and service activities that contribute substantially to preserving or restoring environmental quality. Specifically, but not exclusively, this includes jobs that help to protect ecosystems and biodiversity; reduce energy, materials, and water consumption through high efficiency strategies; de-carbonize the economy; and minimize or altogether avoid generation of all forms of waste and pollution”.

Recently, lot of governments try to deal with crisis by practicing green economy and creating green jobs. But the last studies have shown that replacing normal jobs by green jobs can increase unemployment. So is this right way how to fight against the current economic crisis?

As a negative example of green economy we can mention the case of creating the green jobs in Spain. Spain, together with Latvia, is a country with the highest rate of unemployment in Europe. The country wanted to help its economy by practicing the green economy. Unfortunately, study of Spain’s renewable energy initiatives has found that creating green jobs actually destroys jobs in other sectors — and  most of the time doesn’t lead to permanent employment. The study found that every green job created by the Spanish government destroyed an average of 2.2 other jobs, and that only 1 in 10 were permanent. Two-thirds consisted of temporary jobs in construction, fabrication and installation jobs; one quarter were positions in administration, marketing and projects engineering; and only one of ten was related to more permanent operations and maintenance of renewable power systems. The study calculated that, since 2000, Spain spent $774,000 to create each “green job”, including subsidies of more than $1.3 million per wind industry job. It found that creating those jobs resulted in the destruction of nearly 113,000 jobs elsewhere in the economy, or 2.2 jobs destroyed for every “green job” created. Jobs lost were mostly in the fields of metallurgy, non-metallic mining and food processing, beverage and tobacco.

Now, the world has to solve new dilemma. Should the governments practice the green economy, which is necessary for future development of our planet and human existence, or save the current jobs and level of employment and do not create more green jobs?


3 thoughts on “Green jobs are not the answer to solving the current economic crisis

  1. One thing I can say is that there have been several studies and discussions made about the economics of green jobs. There are always pros and cons on each and every economic policies being proposed but personally I think governments should really invest in renewable energy developments whether it can create new jobs or not because the world really cannot live on petroleum and natural gas alone.

  2. Green jobs may not be the appropriate solutions, but green economy definitely is.

    Investments in renewable energy production create jobs, right, but it also diminish the dependence to foreign energy providers and reduce the dependence on fossil energy.

    Green companies save energy, paper, ink, etc. Which enables them to save and invest money, expand and hire.

    It’s true that “green jobs” require better education level at a first time. But as for the IT, which created a lot of job losses in early 90s, it then provides a lot of job, once the population get trained and skills fit better companies needs.

    So to quickly answer the questions you ask in your article, yes, governments definitely need to invest in greener economy. But no, they shouldn’t create these green jobs by themselves.

    Governments should support green investments, but should let the companies create the needed “green jobs”.

    Besides, an interesting point is that every study that claims that green jobs destroy other jobs, none of them explain nor how nor why. They just put figures, say that part time employment is increasing and they accuse green jobs to be the source of the problems, without explaining why.

    Anyway, the sure thing is that by saving money through renewable energy and using less-consumption machinery, companies would be able to save money, invest, expand and hire, which means more jobs, less unemployment 😉

    My 2 cents,

  3. Even though ‘green jobs’ may not have been successful in the given example, of Spainm this does not mean that they are entirely unsuccessful. An area where green jobs work very well is the tourism industry. Eco-tourism is an entire sector, based on green jobs, controlling the carrying capacity of certain destinations and bringing tourists to their desired destination in an environmentally-friendly manner. Hence, it is important to point out that not the entire green economy is a bad idea because it did not work out in some cases.


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