The Spectacle Blog

Monorail, monorail!

By on 8.25.09 | 6:52PM

Two stories Tuesday caught my eye and demand a quick refresher of the absurdity of the rhetoric - presently on the ascendancy - promoting the "green jobs" boondoggles. First came E&E Daily's contribution (subscription required): 

RENEWABLE ENERGY: Favorable political winds blow E.U. turbine producers to the U.S.

COPENHAGEN -- It was a scene familiar to many a Western labor activist: manufacturing workers in a developed country protesting in vain the outsourcing of their jobs overseas. Earlier this month, workers barricaded themselves in Vestas Wind Systems' wind turbine blade factory on Britain's Isle of Wight to try to convince the company not to shut down the plant, dismiss 425 workers and move production to another country.

Ahem, move to another country? So those "jobs that can't be exported" are in fact exported once a country has polluted its landscape with the contraptions, packing up the carnival tents and moving on to the next town (Lyle Lanley and Ogdenville ring any bells?) The only ones that cannot be exported are the temporary installation contracts that Dr. Gabriel Calzada exposed as being created at a fraction of the pace and at more than twice the cost of the real jobs are destroyed by these schemes, and which are "bubble" jobs requiring constant and increased infusions of taxpayer money into the bubble simply to sustain.

Altogether now, Monorail, monorail...

Then, from the New York Times, "China Racing Ahead of U.S. in the Drive to Go Solar", on the heels of a few similar stories about their aggressive entry into manufacturing "renewables". It opens:

 

WUXI, China - President Obama wants to make the United States "the world's leading exporter of renewable energy," but in his seven months in office, it is China that has stepped on the gas in an effort to become the dominant player in green energy - especially in solar power, and even in the United States."

Good grief, people. This is one of the silliest narratives imaginable supposedly in support of these schemes, that, well, even China is racing to the renewables bandwagon. If the Middle Kingdom is planning to become leader in renewables so you know it's a money-maker!

Beyond childish. Please note the co-incidence with Obama coming into office when noting this translation: they see you coming. Not only have the Chinese stopped from being coal exporters to major importers, with a billion people suddenly moving from poverty into the mid-20th century they need every electron they can produce. That doesn't suddenly make renewable electricity reliable, any more than a guy crawling out of a desert who agrees to drink a Clamato after finishing the glass of water he's handed proves Clamato's poised to take over the beverage market. It proves it's a supplement when you need all you can get.

But more insidious is this rather forced ignorance of the simple fact that your policymakers are behaving absurdly, with your money jobs and economy, and the Chinese are taking advantage of it. I will speak slowly so the journalists can pick this up: rich countries have promised to spend hundreds and hundreds of billions of taxpayer (involuntary) dollars on the things, mandating them even.

Of course China's going to sit at that trough: it's guaranteed money for heaven's sake! Soemtimes at a 500% guaranteed return. While we're on this "teaching moment" I might as well point out that the mob has also gotten into the windmill business in Europe. Why? It's guaranteed rent and there's no business better than guaranteed business.

Oh. But with one hitch. As in Spain, governments do find out they run out of other people's money, unwisely spent. Until then, don't be surprised that China will take advantage of certain political leaders' vanity. But please stop insulting our intelligence.

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