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Green Jobs Could Impact Economy Negatively, Danish Economist Says

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It looks like the “green” economy is a bit more complicated than we’d think at a first sight – at least that’s what Bjorn Lomborg, a Danish He who wrote the book “The Skeptical Environmentalist” in 1998 told Reuters recently.

He argues that jobs in the newly-invented field of green energies could have negative consequences over some other parts of the economy, and that this is only due to the over-optimistic expectations of a fast shift from petrol to renewables.

“You can create jobs in clean energies but unfortunately it ends up at the cost of competitiveness elsewhere,” said Lomborg, head of the Copenhagen Consensus Center.

Quoting a study made by economist Gurcan Gulen from the University of Texas at Austin, he said that new green jobs usually require large amounts of money and that affects the price of energy, employment and GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

The study made by Gulen also gave an interesting example: if a farmer who used to grow wheat now grows rapeseed for biofuel, or if a train driver who used to transport furniture now carries wind turbine parts, their jobs are not to be considered “new green employees,” but rather people who changed their job, and that really affects the other industries.

On the other hand, there are parts of the equation such as building green homes or providing existing ones with efficient insulation, where the new jobs can pay for themselves by the energy savings they bring.

Gulen also stressed that if nations will be able to tax carbon emissions properly, then the green jobs will make sense in the long run, economically.

Every industry has its own grade of pollution. Shifting the weight from one to another (such as generating more energy from renewable sources than from petrol) can only be beneficial in a long-term dust-to-dust analysis. We can’t evolve as much on the scale of petrol consumption and solar power, for example, but investing in the latter will surely make more sense. Or, at least, that’s what common sense tells me.

Anyway, everyone can see that the world is changing from year to year, so we can’t really predict what’s next for sure. The idea is to have the goal of cleaning the way we live through whatever method possible and permanently adapt ourselves to new horizons.

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