Expectations that thousands of new green jobs can rescue the California economy from its deep recession are greatly overstated.
That’s the conclusion of a new study by Bill Watkins at the California Lutheran University Center for Economic Research and Forecasting. Funded by the California Manufacturers and Technology Association and released June 16, the study says the opportunity for green jobs is limited, hard to quantify and dependent on underlying economic fundamentals.
The study is largely a review of previously published material. Among other things, it cites the enormous subsidies required to create viable solar power industries in Spain and Germany. It also warns that the U.S. faces an enormous competitive challenge from China in growing and retaining green jobs that are the product of new rules to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
"Environmental regulation is not an economic panacea," the study warns, adding that the impact of regulation can be minimized by using tax rebates to reward companies and other users that reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in order to reduce regulatory costs.