Horner promotes discredited green jobs study, pushes conspiracy theory involving CAP, DOE


In a Washington Times' op-ed, Chris Horner revived a discredited study to conclude that green jobs initiatives in Spain were "economic and employment disasters." Horner also accused the Center of American Progress, the American Wind Energy Association, and the Department of Energy of coordinating "to produce an attack that would serve all their interests," ignoring news reports and the Spanish government itself that are also critical of the study.

Horner cites "Spanish academics and experts" who concluded "Spain's policies to be economic and employment disasters"

Horner: Spanish experts "reveal[ed] Spain's policies to be economic and employment disasters." From a March 9 Washington Times op-ed by Horner, a senior fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute:

In 2008 and 2009, Mr. Obama told Americans on no fewer than eight occasions to "think about what's happening in countries like Spain [and] Germany" to see his model for successful "green jobs" policies, and what we should expect here.

Some Spanish academics and experts on that country's wind- and solar-energy policies and outcomes took Mr. Obama up on his invitation, revealing Spain's policies to be economic and employment disasters. The political embarrassment to the administration was obvious, with White House spokesman Robert Gibbs asked about the Spanish study at a press conference, and the president hurriedly substituted Denmark for Spain in his stump speech.

In a March 3 PajamasMedia blog post, Horner stated, "In March, a research team from Madrid's King Juan Carlos University produced a detailed, substantive, heavily sourced, two-method paper: 'Study of the Effects on Employment of Public Aid to Renewable Energy Sources.' The paper concludes that Spain's 'green jobs' program was an economic failure, in fact costing Spain many jobs."

Horner suggests criticism of study is rooted in conspiracy involving Department of Energy and CAP. Citing documents obtained by the Competitive Enterprise Institute using the Freedom of Information Act, Horner asserted: "What is clear is that the Department of Energy then worked with Center for American Progress and the industry lobby AWEA to produce an attack that would serve all their interests."

Study Horner cited roundly criticized for "lack of scientific rigor"

U.S. Department of Energy: "[T]he primary conclusion made by the authors ... is not supported by their work." In an August 2009 White Paper responding to the Spanish study, which was written by Gabriel Calzada, a professor of economics at the King Juan Carlos University in Spain and fellow of the Centre for the New Europe, the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory stated that the Spanish study "represents a significant divergence from traditional methodologies used to estimate employment impacts from renewable energy. In fact, the methodology does not reflect an employment impact analysis. Accordingly, the primary conclusion made by the authors -- policy support of renewable energy results in net job losses -- is not supported by their work." The paper further concluded:

The recent report from King Juan Carlos University deviates from the traditional research methodologies used to estimate jobs impacts. In addition, it lacks transparency and supporting statistics, and fails to compare RE technologies with comparable energy industry metrics. It also fails to account for important issues such as the role of government in emerging markets, the success of RE exports in Spain, and the fact that induced economic impacts can be attributed to RE deployment. Finally, differences in policy are significant enough that the results of analysis conducted in the Spanish context are not likely to be indicative of workforce impacts in the United States or other countries.

WSJ's Johnson: "Study doesn't actually identify those jobs allegedly destroyed." Wall Street Journal reporter Keith Johnson challenged a key premise of the study, writing on March 30, 2009, that it "doesn't actually identify those jobs allegedly destroyed by renewable-energy spending. What the study actually says is that government spending on renewable energy is less than half as efficient at job creation as private-sector spending." He went on to write: "The money the government has spent on clean energy may have edged out other government spending, but it's hard to see how it could have edged out private-sector spending, especially when the Socialist government there has reduced corporate income-tax rates, most recently this past January."

Spanish government criticized study for "non rigorous methodology." In a May 20, 2009, letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA), Teresa Ribera Rodríguez, Spain's Secretary of State for Climate Change, wrote that Calzada's analysis used a "low reliable and non rigorous methodology" and that the data he used are "totally out of keeping with the current reality of the sector." Stating that "the Spanish Government would like to express its views," Rodríguez further wrote:

In Spain, according to the last data of the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade the [renewable energy] sector employs 73.900 direct workers, while other report by ISTAS-CCOO (labour union institute of work, environment and health) estimates 89000 direct jobs plus 99681 indirect jobs, against de 52200 direct and indirect jobs of the Calzada's figures (unknown source). According to data of the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade and of the wind power business association, the wind power sector employed 37730 people instead of the 15000 jobs considered in the Calzada's paper.

ISTAS: "The lack of transparency that exists in the data provided is alarming." In an analysis of the Calzada study, Spain's Union Institute of Work, Environment and Health (ISTAS) stated that the study contained a "lack of scientific rigor." ISTAS also said that the lack "of transparency that exists in the data provided is alarming" and that Calzada had written not "a study ... but rather an essay providing opinions and written with editorial overtones based on secondary information that is poorly referenced and/or explained and which provides only partial statements of the facts." ISTAS also stated that one of the "real intention[s] behind the document" was to "try and influence the U.S. media."

Study's author reportedly has ties to oil industry

Study reportedly "supported" by oil-funded Institute for Energy Research. Washington Post columnist George Will cited Calzada's study on June 25, 2009, and stated that Calzada's "study was supported by a like-minded U.S. think tank (the Institute for Energy Research, for which this columnist has given a paid speech.)" As Media Matters noted, ExxonMobil Corp. has disclosed that it has provided funding for the institute. Moreover, the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation -- the president of which is an executive vice president of Koch Industries, whose subsidiaries "have been in the petroleum business since 1940" -- donated $85,000 in grants to the institute between 1997 and 2005, according Internal Revenue Service data compiled by mediatransparency.org, a website of the Media Matters Action Network.

Calzada is fellow at Centre for the New Europe, which has also taken oil-industry money. Calzada's biography from a Heartland Institute conference states that he is a "fellow of the Centre for the New Europe (Brussels, Belgium)." The president of the Centre for the New Europe has acknowledged receiving money from ExxonMobil in 2005, according to a December 7, 2006, article in London's Independent.

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