Is Emissions Intensity, not Green Job Creation, the Best Metric of Greening Economies?

A research paper released in October by the University of Calgary provides yet another discussion of the difficulties of defining “green jobs”. The authors provide an up to date summary of studies which define or measure green jobs, and the cost of green job creation in Canada and the U.S., with special attention to Ontario’s Green Energy Act. The authors propose an alternative in the green job discussion: “We avoid the issue of “what is a green job” by considering dirty inputs (energy) and dirty outputs (greenhouse gas emissions) to evaluate the relative “greenness” of Canadian industries.” Their calculations rank the three most energy-intensive industries as 1) “Utilities”, 2) “Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting”, and 3) “Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction”. They conclude that, given the decrease in emission-intensity of these highly polluting industries, “it is highly likely that the utilities sector created far more green jobs than many of the other Canadian sectors.” It follows, in their analysis, that measuring and monitoring the greening of economies can be best accomplished by using the metric of greenhouse gas emission intensity.

LINK

Green Jobs Fantasy: Why the Economic and Environmental Reality can Never Live up to the Political Promise (Volume 6, Issue 31 of the University of Calgary School of Public Policy Research Paper Series) is at: http://www.policyschool.ucalgary.ca/?q=content/green-jobs-fantasy-why-economic-and-environmental-reality-can-never-live-political-promise

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