“Green” Subsidies Costly for Taxpayers and the Environment – New Study
IPN Press release
London, August 30, 2010 - A study published today reveals the hidden costs of so-called “green investments”, bringing a key policy of Britain’s coalition government into question. The study, from International Policy Network, a global development think tank based in London, shows that subsidising “green jobs” wastes resources and reduces growth without necessarily protecting the environment.
The government has recently laid out plans to pour taxpayers’ money into “green investments”, claiming that the high costs will be offset by long-term benefits to the economy and the environment. The new study finds that this “win-win” attitude is a delusion. Hidden costs include:
Bureaucracy: In practice, “green investments” get spent on red tape. “Green jobs” are taken by bureaucrats, siphoning resources away from the productive sectors of the economy.
Waste: For those advocating “green jobs”, inefficiency is a virtue. A United Nations study on green jobs actually calls for fruit to be picked by hand rather than machine. “Green” subsidies effectively pay companies to make everyday items more expensive and scarce, taxing the public twice over.
Debt: Today’s “green investments” are made by increasing Britain’s colossal national debt, borrowing heavily in the hope of making future generations richer. If the green gamble fails, our children and grandchildren will be left with the bill.
“Green investment” isn’t even a reliable way to improve the environment, the study finds. Steel is one of the world’s most carbon-intensive industries, yet the United Nations Environment Programme counts steelworkers as having “green jobs”, because steel is needed to make wind turbines.
Commenting on the new study, IPN Executive Director Julian Morris points out: “The advocates of ‘green’ jobs want to throw away the proven benefits of the free economy for a wasteful, dirty ‘green economy’ directed by bureaucrats—at tremendous cost. Even the UN admits that a ‘full-fledged [global] green transition’ could cost trillions of pounds. This study shows the money would be wasted, with future generations facing a huge bill and leaving our countryside littered with white elephants.”
“Seven Myths About Green Jobs”, by Andrew P. Morriss, William T. Bogart, Andrew Dorchak and Roger E. Meiners. Published August 2010.
International Policy Network (www.policynetwork.net) is a global think-tank based in London, and is a charitable, non-partisan organisation. IPN runs campaigns seeking to educate the public about the importance of markets and market institutions in the context of global policies relating to development, trade, health, accountability and the environment.
For more information contact: Julian Morris, International Policy Network, (020) 3393 8410, julian |AT| policynetwork.net
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg speaking on government’s planned “Green Deal”, August 19, 2010:
* "All politicians have warm words on the environment, and all governments talk about leading the shift to a new green economy".
* "This government is going to do things differently. We won't try and dazzle you with green gimmicks. We want to impress you by quietly getting on with the job."
* Launch of a low carbon business support programme which the Government hopes will lead to the creation of 10,000 new jobs and 1,000 firms.
Further details about “Green Deal”:
* “The government is expected to move forward with the legislation required to underpin the Green Deal scheme in the autumn and is aiming to launch the initiative in 2012.”
From the Budget:
* “The Prime Minister has pledged to make this the greenest government ever, including reducing the Government’s own emissions by 10 per cent between mid-May 2010 and mid-May 2011.”
* “Following the Spending Review, the Government will put forward detailed proposals on the creation of a Green Investment Bank to help the UK meet the low-carbon investment challenge.”
* “The Government will establish a Green Deal for households through legislation in the Energy Security and Green Economy Bill, to help individuals invest in home energy efficiency improvements that can pay for themselves from the savings in energy bills… The Government will also continue to work on green financial products to provide individuals with opportunities to invest in the infrastructure necessary to support the green economy.”