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A warning from Europe: The green-tape jobs we don’t want

When Björn Lomborg wrote that Green jobs were overhyped, a visiting European friend agreed and sent me examples of the spreading inanity of the green-tape-jobs-market that has taken over Europe.

Stefan points out that most Green jobs created by building windmills or solar power are short lived. The permanent “green” jobs are, insidiously, the expanding green bureaucracy and police. In Europe, the green-police fine people for putting plastic in a glass recycling bin. They force people to write lists of what’s in their rubbish bags; to use electricity when it suits the wind-generators, and not the people.

The Green-police are self propagating. They unwittingly create problems that then need even more auditing, advising and checking. Green-police closed off the natural drafts in houses, then when people got sick from the fungus, they sent around officials to create artificial airflow to stop “sick building” syndrome. When green bureaucrats demanded everyone use less water (whether they needed to or not) stagnant ponds were created in places that had water to spare, and that then led to the creation of a new army of green-water-specialists to sort out the putrid ponds. In an exponential pattern, the populace was slowing co-opted from productive tasks into the big-government-green-merry-go-round.

Thus the patron class of big-government dependent voters expands, and that of independent free citizens shrinks. And we are all poorer, because of the missed opportunities for all that wasted human talent and labor. — JN

A warning from Europe

If you comply with the European follies this time, your brave soldiers will have fought and died in vain. You will be no longer be free citizens, able to hold the politicians responsible. You will be regarded just as stupid ATMs, just like the Europeans are now.

Dr Lomborg is right, many predictions about green manual jobs in the manufacturing of windmills and solar panels were overhyped. Most jobs are shortlived. Many companies manufacturing renewable energy in Europe pay just the legal minimum wages. They frequently go bankrupt and offer little job security.

The big increase in “green jobs” in the last 20 years in Europe has been in the public sector. A whole new caste of people are working to expand green tape. Green tape is now the reality, and has created millions of new public sector jobs in Europe. Typical green jobs are mainly public sector jobs – enforcing regulation, taxing, and surveillance of people. An ever-increasing tax on carbon will speed up this transformation of society.

Let´s give some examples.

1. My mother-in-law was moving house in 2001, in a small village near the Czech border in former communist East Germany. Since unification, this part of Germany was showered with tax money from western Germany. One day I took nine black sacks of rubbish in my car to the local rubbish heap, which in the communist days was just a rubbish dump surrounded by a rusty fence.

Now there was a three storey office for the staff at the dump, with modern dark mirror glazing. It could as well has been the office of a small IT start-up. When I arrived, I was asked to go into the new office to fill in forms. One form to specify the content of each bag, and each form had three carbon copies, blue, red and yellow. So I filled in 36 forms (including the carbon copies). I did not remember the content of each bag, so I wrote just “Misc. Rubbish”. The officials watching me writing this were satisfied. I asked: “Why the forms? For how many years will they be archived ?”

But nobody knew, and nobody cared. Then I could pass the brand new automated gate and throw the rubbish into the containers. I got rid of the rubbish, but it took me 15 minutes to fill in the forms.

Today, 10 years later, I would have to pay at least 90 Euros, and risk a fine if I did not declared the contents correctly. Now they would inspect each bag.

2. In Germany, in every office or railway station you can see four or five rubbish bins. In an office with four people you can have 20 rubbish bins. I am not joking, this is true!

Many of those bureaucrats have higher salaries than the British prime minister Mr Cameron.

If you have all those rubbish bins, you must make sure people don’t put the rubbish in the wrong bin. Therefore the councils must also have surveillance cameras and inspectors. In the UK, some local councils require people to sort the rubbish into up to nine different bins. Some councils are now enforcing fines to up to £100 if you put waste in the wrong bin. The bin inspectors must be administrated by managers. On top of this you have more senior people setting the strategy, administrating the whole chain, and advising the politicians about climate and green living. Many of those bureaucrats have higher salaries than the British prime minister Mr Cameron. If people think they have been wronged by the authorities, they can bring it to the magistrate’s court, so the petty crime of rubbish in the wrong bin can be argued by barristers in front of judges. These are typical green jobs.

3. The European Emission Trading System has created a whole new class of well paid white collar jobs. The best paid are the emission rights traders and the electricity traders. They work for big banks or electricity generators. Most of them make millions a year (thank you consumers).

Every company in the emission trading system has to be certified and audited. This creates jobs for an army of auditors and inspectors. Two billion reports about emissions are filed every year in the EU. The professional service companies thrive on more regulation and red/green tape.

Trees jungles will now be audited and counted. That’s why KPMG and PwC are so keen to have this system in Australia. KPMG hired the former UN bureaucrat Yvo de Boer as their global lobbyist. He was the man behind the idea of the RED scheme, under which you could pay for and trade emission rights from developing countries. For example, you could pay Indonesian billionaires to “save” their rain forests. So even Indonesian billionaires have green jobs nowadays, dipping into western tax money.

4. Expensive “smart” electricity meters will be the central technology to transform our lives. The old fashion way is to use electricity when you need it. That means that the supply companies have an obligation to supply their customers when they need it. If you want to wash you clothes or run the air conditioner on a hot day, they have to generate the electricity as required. This normally comes from baseload coal-fired plants, supplemented with gas turbines for peak load. Those plants emit a lot of carbon dioxide.

Windpower is the future, but unfortunately it does not work when the wind does not blow. Solar panels work well in daytime, but not when its dark. The whole idea with smart meters is demand management. Because electricity is difficult and expensive to store, the goal is to make consumers use electricity when it is produced, rather than when they it is needed. If you want to use air conditioning on a hot day, it will be very expensive. But if you use it on a windy rainy day, it will be cheap. The same applies to electric cars, which have lithium–ion batteries but relatively low capacity. The use of cars in future will be more like having a sailing boat: if the wind blows, you can drive.

Denmark has built a lot of windpower. Denmark has got a high carbon tax as well as the EU emission trading system and feed-in subsidies for windmills. Some days the wind blows too hard, so the electricity generators have to pay to get rid of the surplus. Fortunately for Denmark, they can export electricity to Norway, that can store it in hydropower dams. The Norwegians can then stop their own production to sell the Danish electricity to their captive customers with a hefty profit. If it blows harder than a gale, the windmills must all suddenly stop in order not to overrev. Then Denmark buys back electricity from Norway for a very high price. Fortunately, Denmark has almost no manufacturing left. Even the windmill manufacturer Vestas Wind has moved most production abroad, because of high manufacturing costs. But Denmark has got one of the biggest public sectors in the world. They are indeed doing well!

the interesting side effect was that many of the tight houses started to rot. People got sick from fungus, and sometimes also from radon gas.

5. Insulation of buildings has created many green jobs. In the 1980s the Scandinavian countries encouraged people to better insulate their homes against the cold winters, and thus save energy. The authorities introduced new building codes. Tightening the houses and reducing drafts did indeed save energy. But the interesting side effect was that many of the tight houses started to rot. People got sick from fungus, and sometimes also from radon gas. So most of those houses had to be repaired and rebuilt once more to get rid of the dangerous fungus, and many houses got mechanical ventilation and heat exchangers to keep the indoor air healthy. Later on this Swedish building code to save energy became an EU-regulation, so these flawed buildings are now mandated all over Europe. To enforce the flawed building code you need bureaucrats. Then you can have an army of building inspectors, insurers, and building engineers to sort out the problems and conduct further research into upgrading the building codes. These are typical green jobs.

6. Twenty five years ago you would never had believed that a cow was indeed a pig. But in fact, cows and sheep are climate pigs, worse than many gas guzzling big SUVs according to environment scientists in the EU. The poor animals are farting methane gas, whose greenhouse effect is 21 times larger than carbon dioxide. So a lot of research money now goes into reducing emissions from animals. There are EU and UN programs about farts from animals, so thousands of engineers and veterinarians are studying the problem. Because the problem seems so serious, in some countries they teach children in school to drink less milk and avoid eating meat. Many more green jobs.

7. Most parts of Europe have sufficient natural drinking water, but some big cities have a problem getting enough fresh water. So the EU introduced a regulation to save water, but it is enforced in northern Europe as well as in Spain and Greece where it is needed. So water consumption in Germany and Sweden is now falling year by year, which created a new problem of stagnant water with thriving bacteria. So there are yet more scientists researching this, and engineers and workers changing the water pipes.

The great transformation of society needs a great surveillance apparatus, to monitor and punish the stupid people who don’t understand what’s best for them. The EU has made this a reality. People there are no longer citizens, but treated simply as stupid ATMs.

The European Union has in less the than twenty years been transformed from a group of sovereign democratic states into a political union that has much in common with the medieval German-Roman feudal state or the former Soviet Union.

The politicians and the bureaucrats in the European Union headquarters in Brussels know that Europe is not doing very well economically because of all the red and green tape. So they try to export what the EU can do best – regulation – to other parts of the world. They are spending billions of taxpayers Euros on propaganda to influence politics in other part of the world. They use the UN, and NGOs such as the WWF, as front organizations to spread the emotional and manipulative message.

As a Swedish tourist to Australia and New Zealand in the last months, I have visited the war memorials from the two great wars last century. It is amazing how many thousands of brave young men gave their lives saving the Europeans from themselves and the dangerous ideologies dreamt up by European intellectuals.

If you comply with the European follies this time, your brave soldiers will have fought and died in vain. You will be no longer be free citizens, able to hold the politicians responsible. You will be regarded just as stupid ATMs, just like the Europeans are now.

Swedish born – now living in Switzerland, which is outside the EU.

Lomborg’s commentary in  The Australian, 2nd March. “No Windfall in the false promise of green jobs.”

PS: Lomborg doesnt’ always get it right. It’s good to see he stopped the namecalling. My previous post — Lomborg: uses irrational name-calling and denies the evidence

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