by Jill Fitzsimmons, in a Media Matters repost
In an editorial blasting President Obama’s green jobs initiatives, the New York Post falsely claimed that despite significant investments in clean energy, California’s “environmental sector has actually lost jobs, not gained them”:
[T]he Obama administration’s entire green-jobs initiative has been a massive boondoggle.
As The New York Times reported last month, Obama’s grand plan to create 5 million green jobs over 10 years has turned into an enormous “pipe dream.”
In California, for example, the environmental sector has actually lost jobs, not gained them.
Which raises serious questions about this administration’s ability to come up with any kind of plan that will productively address America’s unemployment crisis.
In fact, those job losses refer only to the San Jose metro area, not to the state of California as a whole, which has gained almost 80,000 green jobs since 2003 — a 4.2% annual increase – and leads the nation in the number of clean energy jobs.
Those numbers come from a recent Brookings Institution report assessing green jobs nationally and regionally, which was the subject of the New York Times/Bay Citizen article cited by the New York Post editorial. The Times article has been criticized for cherry-picking information from the Brookings report to paint a misleadingly negative picture of green job growth.Contrary to the New York Post‘s dismissal of green jobs programs, Brookings found that Recovery Act investments contributed to a surge of growth in the clean economy, despite the recession:
[D]uring the middle of the recession–from 2008 to 2009–the clean economy grew faster than the rest of the economy, expanding at a rate of 8.3 percent. This is likely due, in part, to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which channeled large sums of public spending towards clean energy projects through much of 2009.The report further concluded that its analysis “warrants excitement,” adding that “smart policy support,” rather than policy “uncertainties,” will be required in order to make the most of promising clean economy segments:
The measurements, trends, and discussions offered here provide an encouraging but also challenging assessment of the ongoing development of the clean economy in the United States and its regions. In many respects, the analysis warrants excitement. As the nation continues to search for new sources of high-quality growth, the present findings depict a sizable and diverse array of industry segments that is – in key private-sector areas – expanding rapidly at a time of sluggish national growth. With smart policy support, broader, more rapid growth seems possible. At the same time, however, the information presented here is challenging, most notably because the growth of the clean economy has almost certainly been depressed by significant policy problems and uncertainties.The New York Post is not the first conservative media outlet to twist the facts to support its bizarre opposition to American clean energy.
In that sense, what is most challenging here is the fundamental question raised by the dynamic growth but modest size of the most vibrant and promising segments of the clean economy.
That question is: Will the nation marshal the will to make the most of those industries?
Gateway Pundit, Hot Air and Town Hall gleefully trumpeted the New York Times‘ article as the final nail in the coffin for President Obama’s green jobs efforts. Investor’s Business Daily wrote that “the fact that President Obama’s ‘green jobs’ campaign has been an enormously expensive failure is now so glaringly obvious even the New York Times can’t ignore it any longer.”
And Fox News has repeatedly cited a discredited Spanish study to claim that clean energy investments destroy more jobs than they create.
But whether they like it or not, the Brookings data is further evidence that a robust clean economy is ours for the taking.
– Jill Fitzsimmons, in a Media Matters repost