back to article Al Gore's green job bonanza - can we afford it?

Al Gore is unleashing the climate campaign you can't ignore, in the shape of, which will spend $300 million to sign up some millions of people who will march, write letters and like, agitate. In the face of this government and business will be forced - the plan goes - to take climate change seriously. …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Graham Bartlett

    Mr Gore, I'd like to introduce you to the Bagpuss mice. Bagpuss mice, this is Al Gore. I believe you have a lot in common...

  2. Webster Phreaky

    Only Global Warming is Gore's Hot Air ...

    As there is more and more REAL evidence to refute any global warming, the only hot air around is that which eminates from Al Gore's ass and mouth. Let's be honest, this massive a-hole is a power hungry politician still pissed that he lost an election and then helped another moron John F*@kin Kerry lose another. All his climate blustering (pun intended) is to supplant his lack of presidential power and a publicity set up to be selected as an alternate choice of the DNC at the convention for two virtual communists - Barrack Hussain Obama and Hillary Rodhorn Clinton.

    THAT's the bottom line ... you watch.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So we invest money...

    And create jobs in the UK, and jobs are lost in oil fields of Iran, and you think this is a bad thing? Bad for whom? Iran? Venezuela? Saudi Arabia?

    I don't see it, the window is broken, we didn't break the window in order to mend it, we're just trying to mend it without paying Sahim the expensive Iranian glazer a f***ing fortune.

  4. James Anderson Silver badge

    Green for "go away".

    Why do these tiresome "green"s get so much support and press?

    The net result of all thier self rightious whinging in the UK is to add just a little more misery to peoples lives without having any real effect on hte environment.

    They have screwed up transport planning -- no new infrastructure whether it be airports, roads or even railways is green enough not suffer years of delay. In the meantime everybody suffers traffic jams, sardine trains and the mystifieing experience of ending up in na overcrowded shopping mall when you though you were catching a plain.

    They have screwed up the rubbish collection. It is only a matter of time before a serious epidemic is caused by leaving decaying food hanging around for two weeks. And for what "to reduce landfill" as if filling up holes would destry the planet. And what do they actually do with the other stuff they collect? You have to pay to get paper recycled, most of the glass that gets dumped in the bottle bank is green, yet no manufacturer in hte UK puts anything in green glass containers so it mostly gets used as hardcore in building foundations.

    Lets make Jeremy Clarkson minister for the environment.

    ( and Niomi Campbel is ideal for peace enoy to the middle east.)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The worker is worth his wage..

    Should the person "cleaning babies bottoms" be earning 10K and then changes jobs to do something worth 20K then they have doubled the value of they produce, and thus it is a benefit for all of us that people attain the full value of their abilities.*

    There is an opportunity in the "green bonanza" in that no country has come out as a clear centre of what will in future become the core component of the energy industry.

    You're right of course that the more jobs the greater cost, but it's still true that it will create work and that work could be here or it could be there and we are better off if it's here.

    *Many people have a negative economic value and should be killed.

  6. jose

    Faulty arguments made sounding logical

    In this article, the author berates Al Gore and all the "middle age hippies" are wrong to assume new high paying jobs would be created.

    1 - Any new technology creates a new market and a lot of managers, sales, support and technical jobs.

    2 - most of these jobs are higher paying than Burger King. Thank goodness!

    3 - the government/ politicians can not create jobs. Of course not, but they can provide incentives for entrepreneurs to create jobs.

    4 "the dweebs that populate the green movement need opportunities to congregate and repopulate just as much as any other unfortunate section of society" clearly show the author's bias against the "green" movement.

    Look Mr. Worstall, your opinion that all the tree hugging is a waste of effort and we should just consume oil and coal like there is no tomorrow may be a self fulfilling prophecy. Hiding your head in the sand because you believe what you want or out of convenience does not change the facts of global climate change.

    It is nice to hear one of you radicals logically explain why you are so full of sh*te.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Costs? Some are bearable.

    "So all of our new found workforce would have in fact come from doing something else. It doesn't really matter what else either, not to make the basic point. For we lose whatever else it was that they were doing at the same time as we gain our bright shiny new energy system. They might have been wiping babies' bottoms, stacking shelves at Albertson's or working to cure cancer. Whatever it was, that they are now not doing those things is a cost to us: smelly babies, the Great Famine that would follow Albertson's running out of food, the cancer that will get about a third of us, these are all costs."

    Apart from the fallacy that all the new workforce would have been doing something else, not everything that is currently done is actually *valuable*. So getting them to do something *useful* isn't a cost at all.

    "Ah," you say, "but they're getting paid, so their work must have value." Only to the person paying them. Not in an actual productive sense. We could get along perfectly well without a large proportion of the service and entertainment industries, thank you. The parasites in the City who purport to drive the economy but are in reality just betting other peoples' money and taking a cut, win or lose: they could be "redeployed" to produce something real at no cost to society.

  8. Lon Bailey

    well, sounds good to me

    since there is a skills shortage in the UK, USA and soon China, then I guess the jobs will go to migrants (quick- build more walls!). But it gets worse, to get to skilled workers, we need better schooling and that means overhauling the education system which really has not done as well as expected on both sides of the Atlantic- and that will cost more money (and create more jobs) but hey, if it takes 50 years, then it doesn't matter since the Stern Review reckons we Londoners may be living under water by then...

  9. Matt Martin


    How dare you criticize the man who single-handedly killed ManBearPig.

  10. Chevy
    Thumb Down

    Tim Worstall may know loads about metals...

    ...but he seems to know fuck all about environmental economics. As this wooly-written article hints at.

    But fuck it all anyway - I'm off on a long-haul flight to Thailand in about an hour :)

  11. John Savard Silver badge

    Correct Logic

    I think that global warming is a real problem, and so we should create highly paid jobs building shiny new nuclear power plants.

    But, yes, this is going to mean electricity will cost more for a while, as we replace power plants at a faster rate than we would have to if it weren't for global warming. And we would be even poorer as a society if we had to tighten our belts on energy use to get by on wind power and solar power and the like. So it is indeed the "Broken Windows Fallacy", as you say.

    If they want to make a case that energy conservation would lead to a fairer distribution of income - the way that Japanese laws preventing big-box stores from competing with small family-owned retail outlets are claimed to - they can try and advance the figures for that case.

  12. Tim


    Doubtless you are filled with the kind of righteous anger that only a convert to a new religion (like Climate Change) could muster. Good for you. Unfortunately you've confused two separate opinions with one there. Tim Worstall might well think that all tree hugging is a waste of effort, but he didn't say anything in his article about how we should all go on "consuming oil and coal like there's no tomorrow."

    What you radicals fail to understand is that perhaps the middle way makes a lot of sense. The middle way means reducing fossil fuel usage without spending billions and billions on pointless quangos, regulation designed by closet marxists to make ordinary people miserable, and make-work programmes led by brand-of-selfs like Al Gore.

    I recycle, I have a modestly fuel-efficient car, I have energy saving lightbulbs and my thermostat is set low. I still travel though, because basic measures are much more important than indulging in the 21st century equivalent of self-flagellation which the green lobby enjoy so much.

  13. Tim Worstal

    Oh No....

    "Look Mr. Worstall, your opinion that all the tree hugging is a waste of effort and we should just consume oil and coal like there is no tomorrow"

    Certainly not. I want everyone to be using solid oxide fuel cells because they use the metals that I sell in my day job in their manufacture. I will be much better off personally if lots lots more money is put into alternative and hydrogen cycle energy systems. Vastly so.

    Why, I've even used my very own personal money to subsidise research in the field.

    But then I try not to let what benefits me personally colour my view of the larger elements of the picture.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Al Gore

    The only companies, jobs and revenues he cares about are the ones he can create for himself on the back of his 'green' campaign.

    I think dumping Al Gore and his poor presentation of the facts would do everyone good. He isn't really bothered about the issues, only how he can use them for his own benefit.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That which is seen..

    Having read the link, very good BTW, I see that actually your argument falls foul of the fallacy itself.

    Currently the Middle East and Russia are the main producers of energy, in the window example, they are the glazier, we, of course are the shopkeeper, and the shoemaker, is in fact our own population.

    Now, under the current set up, it is seen that the Middle East and Russia benefit from our need of energy, but what is not seen is that if the energy is produced by our own population the money we would have sent to Russia or the ME instead goes to our own population. Thus we would be paying to our own pocket, even if the cost is greater we could (depending on how great the cost) still be better off.

    Global warming is irrelevant to whether or not we should work on our own energy supply.

  16. James Pickett

    Thank you..

    ..for the 'Broken Window' link. What goes around comes around!

    As for global warming, it's an inconvenient truth that the globe stopped warming in 1998...

  17. Andrew Hill

    The real problem... overpopulation. This is the fact that no one seems able to suggest. Our hunger for energy is dependent on two things parameters: energy per person and total number of people. Persuading a few people to switch to low enery bulbs and hybrid cars (which are more polluting than petrol cars unless our electricity is entirely renewable or nuclear) is pointless when our population is growing at an ever increasing rate.

    I have a few suggestions to rectify this, but you will probably find them in poor taste.

  18. Matthew

    By the time any of these Green schemes are set to happen

    The temps will already be sufficiently down regardless of Co2 that even the true believers will start to doubt the whole thing.

  19. Dr Stephen Jones

    You'll be lucky, Tim.

    "But then I try not to let what benefits me personally colour my view of the larger elements of the picture."

    That's not allowed around here. Another Tim summed it up very nicely in the last comment:

    "spending billions and billions on pointless quangos, regulation designed by closet marxists to make ordinary people miserable, and make-work programme"

    All these boondoggles directly benefit The Grauniad readers, the only people in Britain who think working for an eco-quango is a productive and valuable job.

    That leaves the make-people-miserable brigade, and they can't wait to start going through your rubbish, telling you to turn the lights out, and imposing Maltusian limits on developing countries.

    At least we can see "Climate Change" for what it is - a Death Cult.

  20. Bounty

    Is investing a cost? in the long run?

    I don't see it. Creating a job is not a cost. Nobody is forced to take that job.

    If someone has more $ to move a guy from mowing my lawn, to installing solar panels, then that service must be more profitable/productive. I'd rather have solar panels than short grass anyways. Then I can use the saved $$ to hire the unemployed guy to cut my grass, or buy the robot to use the electricity to cut the grass. (Then the unemployed guy, can work at the robot assembly plant.)

    It's an investment.

    Put something into it now for a bigger payoff later. While the cows (or your idiot neighbors) still survive, their lives don't get better because they don't invest. They just consume what they have, until it's gone or they die. However, in 10 years those who invested are better off.

  21. Mark

    Where to apply?

    I'm all set- I'd like a high paying new job, and if it helps save the Earth, so much the better.

    I'm just having a hard time finding the "Submit Resume" page... Anyone else see it? All I can find is a bunch of pages about sending e-mail to an Elected Official('s intern) and how to feel self-rightous about it...

  22. ian
    Thumb Down

    Politicos (i.e. governments) can't create jobs?

    That is a startling assertion! As I recall Hitler had a full-employment scheme. More seriously, the government-funded Hoover Dam in the US produced (and produces to this day) many jobs and companies.

    I could supply you with many similar examples, but the logical basis of your argument is the usual libertarian crap, and needs no more attention.

  23. breakfast

    Not just greenwash

    In an uncanny moment of synchronicity, George Monbiot observes that pretty much every large government or corporate action that tells us it will create hundreds of thousands of jobs is basically a bunch of big fat lies:

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    "1 - Any new technology creates a new market and a lot of managers, sales, support and technical jobs."


    "2 - most of these jobs are higher paying than Burger King. Thank goodness!"

    How many Burger King employees are qualified to do the jobs mentioned in #1?

    "3 - the government/ politicians can not create jobs. Of course not, but they can provide incentives for entrepreneurs to create jobs."

    One could argue that it's not the governments place to provide economic incentives for any reason.

    "4 "the dweebs that populate the green movement need opportunities to congregate and repopulate just as much as any other unfortunate section of society" clearly show the author's bias against the "green" movement."

    Since it would cause a massive up-tick in the number of loose females available to us we'd be overjoyed to have the greens intermingle with the rest of normal society, if they would simply bathe...

    Paris because she's an example of the type of female mentioned above. :-)

  25. Sumner R Andrews Jr

    US Federal Contribution

    The US government under a new president's leadership must prime the fiscal and technological pump through a NASA type effort in order for Mr. Gore's plan to work. The Republican's may win this slug fest which again would put Mister Gore on the outside. Unless of course he saw this as a bipartisan effort. The only difference between then and now is that it must be a cooperative effort on a global scale.

    The question is whether the US can work collaboratively with the rest of the world. Undoubtedly, they would have to observe a minimum set of requirements outlined in the 'Ten Components' document located at . In other words, they would have to learn how to play nice. The ten components are derived from a NASA style proposal titled the 'Global Open Source Initiative' found at the same location. After reading these documents you may guessed correctly that this is John McCain territory. He has already met with EU leaders last month on the issue of climate change. McCain possesses a distinguished global warming record. Keep an eye on him as possibly the next US president. His contribution to climate change may be more critical to our survival than anyone could imagine.

    Sumner Andrews Jr

  26. b shubin

    Happy medium

    the reality is likely to be something in between. Al and his crunchy commandoes are useful for pulling in one direction, and Webster's GWBushie burn-and-pillage gang are pulling in the other direction (btw, nice to see the Phreakster is on the junk again, i thought he quit Oxycontin for good), so we'll probably settle on range of somewhat reasonable solutions, with a few extreme boondoggles.

    Al is useful for doing the PR work i don't have the stomach for, and if he makes a buck in the process, i don't mind (the Bushies certainly make a mint on selling their services to their corporate sponsors). not surprised to see that any voices of reason get flamed by both sides in the process.

    the desirable outcome is that i will live the rest of my life in a world with somewhat less waste and pollution, and some wildlife will survive in a few remaining protected natural areas. here's hoping.

  27. Anigel
    Black Helicopters

    gore the environmental disaster

    Once Gore finally backs this pledge which he has been refusing to do for over a year, then I will believe that Gore actually believes a word he is saying.

    Till then I will go on knowing he is deliberately lying rather than that he has just been misled by others who should know better

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Jose and Chevy

    There are two debates: 1. Are there man made climate change. 2. What do we about it.

    This article is a part of the second one. It's wording tells about an author that really doesn't want it to be a part of the first one. Yet you attack him for it. He doesn't say anything about what to conclude, he just wants the correct numbers.

    It is like if my roof starts leaking and the carpenter tells me it is going to cost me 1000£ to fix it, later he hands me a bill of 5000£ and explains to me that 4000£ extra doesn't really count because it was an income for him. Not fixing the roof wouldn't be an option, so I would have to do that anyways, but I sure as hell would have like to know the actual price before I hired that particular carpenter for the job.

    I don't get it. Why are we not even allowed to debate even the methods to solve climate change? Once in a while I am stupid enough to argument against a suggested method to solve some of the climate change issue. I can spend the better part of day to figure out how I am to express it without it thouching the debate wether it is or is not any man made climate change. I just want to question a particular method. Each time somebody like Jose or Chevy come along and bash my head in and crusify me for being a non-beliver. I am guessing that will be the outcome now aswell, why I choose to be a coward on this one. Thanks Jose and Chevy.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Your article makes no sense whatsoever!

    Wow, you contradict yourself, make illogical statements, make statements that you imply are factual when you show no proof. Overall a horribly written article that says nothing and proves nothing. Oh, and just to let you no, you could apply your "logic" to every profession out there and make everything look like a cost that is stealing from other professions basically bringing society to a stand still. Everything costs and whether someone moves from a non-green job to a green job, or another non-green job, costs. So whats your point? You're arguing about something that is always going to be in society regardless of whether there is, was, or will be global warming. Just another smoke screen to blind people from what needs to happen. And you fail to look at the very real costs of doing nothing or not enough, which would far out way doing as much as possible. Stop being pessimistic and look at the problem as an opportunity rather than a road block for society!

  30. E

    I beg to differ

    The USA and UK (and Canada and France) all used political methods to build nuclear power industries.

    Boeing funded the development (likely still does) of commercial airliners from profits made building military aircraft for the USA gov't, or for export under contracts arranged by the USA gov't.

    The USA's semiconductor industry largely arose out of servicing federal government tenders for military hardware - until the PC and such gained mass market appeal in the 80's. The first computers were built for the military to crack Nazi & Imperial Japanese crypto. Hell, even today the biggest single customer for AMD & Intel opteron/xeon processors is the USA national labs building clusters.

    Tell me that until the Asians kicked the North American auto makers in the teeth that Autopact was a destroyer of industry and jobs?

    One of the things I like about the Reg is it's general lack of jeering & winking political propaganda. This article is one of the infrequent instances that get through.

    "Leave aside the absurdity of our (or anyone elses') elected officials being able to create jobs, companies or revenues:..."

    This article is pure right wing American-style obscurantism. Every first world (and many 2nd & 3rd) government in the world uses some form of industrial policy to foster targetted sectors for growth.

  31. Jim


    More jobs means more costs, what does an increase in GDP denote? IIRC that means that more money has been made, which in turn means more money has been spent.

    It always amuses me when economists forget that it is a net zero game at best. For someone to get richer someone else (or many) has to get poorer. Externalising costs is not the same as reducing costs, even though it may appear so on the balance sheet.

    Reducing labour requirements means that there is more labour resource available but there is no gaurentee that this surplus labour will be used, or used in a truly productive way. The Canadian seal hunt and the Japanese whale hunt are fine examples of what happens when you have excess labour resources.

  32. James

    Sensationalism from both sides

    Whether or not the author of this article is right or whether Gore is right is hard to say from such a short piece. What this does however demonstrate is why the debate on climate change needs to be radically altered.

    Pretty much everyone posting here has a firm opinion one way or the other regarding whether climate change is really occurring. Some say yes, some say no, but all have a failry cast iron opinion. Most of the reason for this IMO is the sensationalistic nature of the reporting of climate change. If an article is to make it either onto the 6 o clock news, into a newspaper or even onto the boards of el reg it has to come to some pretty firm conclusions. Unfortunately those just are not possible given current scientific knowledge. We are still at a stage of speaking of "scientific consensus", which a few hundred years ago would have had the world as round.

    The only way to form a balanced and fair opinion is to go and read a hell of a lot of scientific journals, various studies on various aspects of the issue and weigh up all the evidence accordingly. Only then are you in a position to form an opinion. Go and read up on the royal society, particularly on their website looking at climate change. The most respected scientific body on earth doesn't have any sensational claims, doesn't come close to claiming to know what is happening and what the consequences will be. It just highlights where the evidence points and suggests a course of action based on the evidence at hand.

    Articles such as the one I have just read are necessary in the face of action the likes of which Gore is proposing and undertaking, but it is precisely this kind of article/argument that is rendering the public debate on climate change completely and utterly pointless.

  33. Uzi
    Paris Hilton

    How naieve

    "How excellent, eh? Supermarkets use fewer resources (for the labour of a human being is most certainly a resource) but get the same job done. Our retail requirements are catered for and instead of five people working to do so, only one is. The other four are able to go off and wipe bottoms and/or cure cancer. We thus get both our groceries and fresh smelling babies (and perhaps that cancer cure will come before my Marlboros kick in). Excellent, we're richer, all of us as a society, by using less labour to complete a task"

    Most of the money saved by lower labour costs is pocketed by Supermarkets and their shareholders. The lesser labour requirements means there is lesser demand for labour so the 4 now unemployed workers now have to compete in a more competitive labour market which will suffer from some level of wage depression. That's assuming that the money saved by society in terms of slightly cheaper food is enough to create jobs to make up for the four lost.

  34. E


    Since when is economics a zero sum game? That view was discredited with mercantilism.

  35. E

    @Jim 2

    Seriously, would you claim that the car industry was an economically bad thing because it put an end to widespread jobs working with horses?

    The view that a new industry is bad because it replaces an older one is completely wrongheaded. The new industry may be bigger than the one it replaces, or it may provide same products at reduced cost. Or - think TV or the 'net - it may create wealth via an enterprise that simply did not exist before.

    Of course sometimes the replacement does cost jobs (but it's less common than the other case) eg the move to largely recycled steel as part of the global steel supply in the 80's: but that is just capitalism, it was cheaper the recycle the stuff than dig up the ore and smelt it.

    The view that for someone to get rich others must be impoverished is utter poppycock. A basic reason that the money supply grows year on year is to maintain liquidity in a market where more new stuff is produced every year. If your claim were true then the money supply would never need change.

    Fact of the matter is that the view you express is statist and fundamentally anti-capitalist. If some people want to try to create a green industry, they have the right to do so and established industries have only the right to destroy the green industry by competing better. Half baked economic arguments and political interference to limit the new industry are wrong and contradict the fundamental principle of competition. The new industry will live or die quite well on it's own, on it's own merits.

    Also, I don't know anyone who emigrates across Canada to club seals. The seal hunt employs perhaps a few thousand people out of a work force of about 8 or 10 million people, and it is driven by profit... seal pelts are valued by people who like to wear fur. The seal hunt is irrelevant in the overall labour market in Canada. I suspect the same is true of the Japanese hunting whales.

  36. Anonymous Coward

    You want costs?

    Check out the Stern Report, summary here:

    Since the opportunity cost of doing nothing is at least 1% of GDP, you can spend up to that doing something to mitigate that cost.

    I see no problem in selling C02 permits to internalise the externalities of the energy market.

    A feed-in subsidy for electricity generation, like the Germans, would help the solar markets achieve economies of scale and technological progress more quickly.

    Substitution of oil, gas, and coal use for power generation by solar, wind, and reduced consumption (by conservation measures), reducing our dependency on scarce imports is a plus.

  37. Vijay Jairaj

    More jobs?

    And what happens to all those millions of jobs once the earth is clean and global warming/whatever has been solved and Al Gore's stopped farting...?

    Tired of this crap - going out to drive around in my 4x4 and de-stress.

    Mine's the one with the Hummer keys and the Marlboros in the pockets...

  38. Tim Worstal


    "Seriously, would you claim that the car industry was an economically bad thing because it put an end to widespread jobs working with horses?"

    Of course not. Only that the end of those widespread jobs with horses was a cost of the auto industry. As I say in the piece, it may be that it's a cost we're happy to pay, it may be that the benefits of the new technology outweigh those costs.

    The point isn't even that a green economy itself is a bad idea. Only that shouting about how many jobs you're going to create is a cost, not a benefit, of such schemes.

  39. neill miller

    disposable income ...

    ... will NOT increase, rather the opposite will happen, therefore the question should be: where will all the money come from other than printing new one?

    reminds me of the piracy issue: industrie claims losses in the billions, but again, where's the beef?

  40. Kwac

    @thank you

    Global warming stopped in 1998?

    Crap. Even the guy who told the world that there had not been any increase for the last few years said that this counted for nothing - you need to look at the upward trend.

    Global warming is here. Global warming is happening. WE are CONTRIBUTING to the rate of change

    As long as the nay-sayers have a university at a Texas University to fall back on, nothing will get done.

    Its too convenient to say he's talking crap - present an intelligent, reasoned answer - Excel & Shell haven't so far.

    Governments create jobs?

    Britain had very low levels of unemployment during WW II - what's the problem?

  41. Tim Worstal

    A small update

    This is a rather funny litte ad that Wecansolveit has just issued.

  42. Naadir Jeewa

    Has anyone at the Adam Smith Insitute read Adam Smith?

    Great lobby group articles for The Register. Cool!

  43. Rab S

    yeah well

    Once he stops taking privte planes to places to tell people to fly less, orders endagered spices as food at privite functions and has a lower power bill than the average wage then he will have a point...until then why does he not just piss off?

    Gore is just another of a long line of "do what say not what I do" wankers

  44. Nick Collingridge

    Two sides of the debate

    One of the fundamental problems I have with the anti-AGW types is that they are very rarely rational in their views. They continually demonstrate their disdain for people who care about our future, denigrating them as "a-hole"s, "tiresome greens" or "dweebs" who are part of an "unfortunate section of society".

    This attitude demonstrates such a lack of a balanced perspective that it ruins any chance of them being taken seriously. Rudeness and an irrational hatred for anyone who disagrees with them are typical characteristics of the neocon right winger who only sees the world from a money-focused perspective, without the ability to appreciate the concept of greater good.

    I am reassured to see that the balance of comments to this post so far are from the more educated and concerned side of the debate. Global warming is happening without any doubt at all. I don't think that James Pickett can seriously believe that it ceased in 1998 unless he just hasn't looked into the science at all, but his baseless assertion is very typical of those who try to deny that we have a problem ahead of us.

    For the record, 1998 was a particularly hot year, mainly because of an El Nino event. 2008 promises to be a cooler year as a result of the La Nina event that is happening now. These two years are examples of why you cannot take any one year in isolation as evidence of anything. You have to look at the long term trends, and these are clearly heading strongly upwards. It will take a few more years before this is clear again, unfortunately, but this evidence is only part of the picture - what is happening around the world is strong supporting evidence.

    It's very easy to stick your head in the sand and pretend that nothing is happening - it means that you can continue to do nothing to modify your lefstyle without so much guilt. But can all of those people who act in this way honestly say that they don't have even a sneaking worry that they may be wrong?

    That attitude is almost the definition of the phrase ignorant compacency, and people who proceed in this way should really reflect on whether by not looking into the science (as they clearly cannot have done) they are not betraying any claim to be a rational person.

  45. Solomon Grundy

    Creation of Wealth vs Creation of Jobs

    If you look past the inflammatory statements made by the author of this story, he does make a correct point in that "making" jobs has a huge cost that few people figure in. The story also hits on the fact that higher wages does not "create" wealth.

    The only way to "create" wealth is through the exploitation of natural resources (oil, gold, grains, etc...) any other scenario means that existing money has just been juggled around or tons of extra cash is being printed (leading to a doomed inflation scenario - i.e. Germany post WWI). This is also why countries with no natural resources stay poor and generally uncivilized forever.

    In sticking with the Burger King example: if Tim goes from flipping burgers at $10hr to building cars at $20hr that $10hr difference must be made up for somewhere else in the economy - something must be made more cheaply or someone must be fired, otherwise the system is running a negative balance, which probably won't work for long (see inflation statement above). No amount of new jobs or increased wages will fix a negatively balanced economy - the only solution is to invoke "something-for-nothing" and use naturally occurring resources to create value - more, more, more.

    If you wonks don't understand this, then you are doomed anyway. I'm going to lunch.

  46. Tim Worstal


    Has anyone at the Adam Smith Insitute read Adam Smith?

    Yes, next?

    "The only way to "create" wealth is through the exploitation of natural resources"

    Umm, no. It's by adding value to resources.

  47. Anonymous Coward

    not that there's anything wrong with being "green"...

    However, in the big global warming debate, why would Al Gore actually want to pollute the issues with facts? Excuse me for being cynical, but he has a long history of talking out both sides of his enormous face. And if you believe the happy horse crap he's selling, then you're more naive than most. Most of the scientists he's got in his pocket, spouting "irrefutable fact" are working for organizations that have a vested interest in him and his argument being preached as gospel. Had most of those "scientists" been truly objective, Mr. Gore's argument would, at best, been poked full of holes.

    I for one believe that it's possible for man to adversely impact the environment, globally, but it's going to take a damn side more than roughly 250 years of serious industrialization and automobiles. The earth is simply more resilient than that. Granted, it's not bullet proof, but it's pretty damn tough.

    Mr. Gore is in this simply for the ego and financial gain... Therefore it is my firm belief that if he were to claim otherwise, his nose would grow faster than it takes his private aircraft to suck down a single gallon of fuel.

  48. Martin Robbins



    That is the most hilarious argument I've ever seen - that the entire international scientific community is part of some kind of Al Gore funded conspiracy. Did he fund 9/11 and Diana's death too?

  49. Stephen

    @Tim Worstal

    ""The only way to "create" wealth is through the exploitation of natural resources"

    Umm, no. It's by adding value to resources."

    Tim, 'adding value' is how you exploit natural resources. You're just restating his point, not as you imply, refuting it. The language of economics has become another form of jargon that seeks to obscure and obfuscate.

    Try writing your articles in clear, concise English so we can follow the logic. This would allow both us and you to critique it and perhaps improve your ideas in the long run.

    Which is surely the idea of putting something like this out?

  50. Solomon Grundy

    @Tim Worstal

    No, "adding value" to resources only raises the cost, and thusly lowers the value of the workers wage.

    As I said in my initial post "any other scenario means that existing money has just been juggled around or tons of extra cash is being printed"

    You're one of those funny money jugglers aren't you Tim?

  51. Marco

    Re: Creation of Wealth vs Creation of Jobs

    >>> The only way to "create" wealth is through the exploitation of natural resources (oil, gold, grains, etc...) any other scenario means that existing money has just been juggled around or tons of extra cash is being printed (leading to a doomed inflation scenario - i.e. Germany post WWI). This is also why countries with no natural resources stay poor and generally uncivilized forever.

    Germany, that you mentioned it, has little natural resources and is the third largest economy of the world.

    >>> In sticking with the Burger King example: if Tim goes from flipping burgers at $10hr to building cars at $20hr that $10hr difference must be made up for somewhere else in the economy - something must be made more cheaply or someone must be fired, otherwise the system is running a negative balance, which probably won't work for long (see inflation statement above). No amount of new jobs or increased wages will fix a negatively balanced economy - the only solution is to invoke "something-for-nothing" and use naturally occurring resources to create value - more, more, more.

    No. Tim now has $20 to spend instead of ten, while his work creates a higher value per hour than what is paid to him and what the raw material cost. Tim will now consume more and keep people who produce the consumed goods in their jobs or even help create more of them, while his original job at Burger King is vacant and must be filled. Tim and the others will keep their (new) jobs as long as there is a high enough demand for the goods they produce.

    This is Economy 101. I encourage you to look up "demand", "supply" and "recession".

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Solomon Grundy

    <bollocks>The only way to "create" wealth is through the exploitation of natural resources (oil, gold, grains, etc...) any other scenario means that existing money has just been juggled around or tons of extra cash is being printed (leading to a doomed inflation scenario - i.e. Germany post WWI). This is also why countries with no natural resources stay poor and generally uncivilized forever.</bollocks>

    You mean rich in natural resources like Africa and poor in natural resources like Japan?

    Wealth creation relies mainly on the ability to add value in a process; people pay a lot more for refined petrol than for crude oil, which is why oil companies like Exxon and Shell make a lot of money, even though they have to buy the raw materials from other countries. Similarly Intel makes more money selling silicon (as CPUs) than B&Q does selling sand. Having natural resources can get you out of poverty, but it doesn't get you full employment and civilisation (especially if the "civilised" countries "help" you exploit the natural resources).

  53. Vendicar Decarian

    The Failure of the NeoCon American state

    Sorry. The more these NeoCon Conners froth at the mouth about their failed economic theories, the more and more it becomes obvious that they don't know what they are talking about.

    The NeoCon revolution has certainly been good for America, now with it's 9.5 trillion dollar debt, failing economy - Now working on Bush Recession 2 - a collapsing dollar - down almost 50% over the last 7 years, and a it's now largely exported manufactuing sector.

    So bad are things in NeoCon America, that Bushie has had to redefine flipping burgers at McDonalds as part of the manufacturing sector.


    Can government policies "make" jobs? Yup. Just as Corporate planned obselesence in products "make jobs."

    With a minimum of 80% of all labour in the current economic system being worthless waste, one should ask themselves if they wish to live life according to the NeoCon failure that is unfolding in the U.S. or weather they wish to improve their quality of life by taking back some of the time stolen by Industry to produce goods that are only needed because they are designed to fail. (Breaking windows).

    NeoCon economic theory is based on stupidity, greed and outright lies.

    Only a fool follows that kind of example.

  54. Vendicar Decarian

    Can the apes be trusted?

    "I think that global warming is a real problem, and so we should create highly paid jobs building shiny new nuclear power plants."

    Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Syria, Egypt, Thialand all agree with you.

  55. Vendicar Decarian

    I have never met a Conservative who wasn't a perpetual liar.

    "As for global warming, it's an inconvenient truth that the globe stopped warming in 1998..."

    View with mono-spaced font...

    Here are the figures for the last decade.

    1998 14.57 *********************o*****

    1999 14.33 *****************>>>>o

    2000 14.33 *****************>>>>>o

    2001 14.48 ************************o

    2002 14.56 *************************o**

    2003 14.55 **************************o*

    2004 14.49 *************************>>o

    2005 14.63 *****************************o**

    2006 14.54 ***************************>>>o

    2007 14,57 *****************************

    Look at all those "o"'s lined up there. The trend is up, Up, UP.

    So Fool, who is paying you to post lies to this forum?

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton



    Don't be a tool. Think about it for a sec... Where do most scientific communities get their funding? One of three major places: 1) Government departments that have a motive for getting their agendas passed, for even more funding; 2) Corporate interests who seek to have their "visions" validated, in order to capitalize; 3) private individuals with really deep pockets.

    Well, since Mr. Gore actually falls into all three categories, or at least has really strong links to them, he's going to have paths to what ever kind of result he wants.

    Furthermore, without funding, how do you expect scientists to produce results? Through their own charity? I don't think so. Finally, with the shoddy analysis of the whole "climate change" being turned political, most people are looking for ways to either make a name for themselves or stay in the money. So they're going to produce what ever results their benefactors demand.

    Heck, look at statistics and economics. You can bend the "facts" to show/produce what ever results you want.

    Sorry to burst your bubble. As for the rest of your insinuations, sarcasm noted and duly ignored.

    I chose Paris because even she can spot a snake oil salesman... I think

  57. Peter W

    fellow from the adam smith institute

    in shock "jobs are bad, money matters more" article.

    What a surprise. He obviously hasn't heard about the way unemployment is not equally distributed and new jobs can indeed be created that ends up employing some of that unemployed, directly or indirectly. Reference for instance the unemployed in Ohio.

    Why, every time I read a science piece in the register that touches on the environment, do I get the impression the elreg is now a very right wing news site?

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Climate change deniers

    Are like racists and BNP supporters: they don't half love a comments page. Happily unrepresentative of the population, for all their persecution complex.

  59. Anonymous Coward

    @ Andrew Mill

    By far and away, the most logical argument here. Kudos.

    The rest of you are just floundering at the edges with your feeble arguments, and immature school-yard name calling (yes, especially you eco-emu's).

    If this was the Titantic, you lot would be the guys standing at the stern, an hour after the captain told everyone they're f**d - smoking your pipes, worrying about whether putting women and children in the life boats first is "adding value". And the eco-emu's would be worse; they'd be the ones returning to dinner because "it's unsinkable; the lights are still on, the band is still playing, so there's nothing to worry about".

    It's a no-win debate; there's too many people for the life boats (finite resources?) regardless of how much "value" you "add" to them. Have a nice swim.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course...

    We are all still paying off the "Red Menace" jobs bonanza, and the "Homeland Security" jobs bonanza is still keeping the credit card warm. Either the money moves around, or it doesnt. Its better if it moves around and the world has had good evidence of what happen when "prudent" investors become cautious and sit on their funds.

    Governments are universally imprudent investors, but what they leave behind can be a legacy for the future. Whether it be highways or dams or irrigation systems. The Governments of the day never saw ROI, but the hit to the hip pocket largely trickled into the hip pockets of citizens encouraging business activity, employment, and private investment. The legacies left behind arent all bad either and, to be honest, if a government spending spree leaves in its wake a few renewable energy generators and some solid R&D, I would be much happier than if it left a half-built railgun or the waning memory of the spending spree a "give the cash back to the people" policy would presage.

  61. Glen Turner

    Productivity of labour is the key point

    Tim: "For, as I say, all those jobs, all those revenues, are properly counted as a cost of such schemes, not a benefit."

    You are making the same error as the pollies by looking at the wrong statistic. The key classical economic concept at work here is the productivity of labour.

    Via international treaty the cost of the carbon pollution externality is going to be added into the cost of production. That will cause the productivity of carbon-emitting industries to fall. In turn the wages they offer will fall relative to the remainder of the economy.

    Or, taking the positive spin that pollies like, non-carbon-emitting industries will have increased productivity, causing he wages that offer to labour to increase.

    Anyway, the result is an incentive for labour to move from one industry to another. Labeling these as "new" jobs is a tad rich, almost as rich as infrastructure developments claiming "new" job creation for the builders of those projects.

    Note that this isn't zero-sum basket-weaving: the increased productivity in the new sector increases the national wealth (as long as you're comfortable with the idea that atmospheric carbon decreases the national wealth).

    The problem with this classical economics approach is two-fold.

    Firstly, the time lag between price signal and action are long in capital-intensive industries, usually around a decade but that may be much longer at this moment (approach a bank and want to borrow $2B, you've no hope at all during the current banking sector crisis). The cost of that lagged signal is large, as the externality is increasingly increasing in cost. This market failure obviously requires some government intervention for the solution with least cost to the nation to be found -- government doesn't require a functioning capital market to make an investment.

    The second problem is that the cost of the externality is artificial. No one knows what the proper cost is until the effects of the cost can be measured. That is, until it is to late for any reasonable market-based corrective action. This leads to a lot more problems than usual with pollution pricing schemes: carbon pricing is very vulnerable to a simple denial that a problem exists (no effected people can yet be shown). Then there are all the usual problems with pollution pricing: such as how to distribute the pollution price (using it as government revenue isn't wise) and the incentive for avoidance of this artificial cost -- either by moving operations to another regulatory place or by extra-legal avoidance.

    Getting back to Tim's quote. What the pollies should be touting is the increased wealth of the nation from the transfer of jobs from the less productive to the more productive industries. You could even state that number in job-equivalent units. The problem with economics is that we can't tell them what this number will be -- the situation is too complex to do anything other than give numbers at the boundaries (and they are frighteningly enough, to be honest).

  62. Hud Dunlap

    Re: only global warming is Gores hot air

    For the reality of Gore's position on energy usage see His house uses 12 time the national average. Compare that to Dubya's

  63. Jerry

    Rusty Labour Market Economics

    Once a long while ago I worked as a Labour Market Economy computer modeler. The pay was good and so were the free lunches. While I disdained actually learning economics I did pick up on some of the basics. First: There are three classes of employment - Employed, Unemployed, and Not in Workforce. People move between each possible state with relative ease.

    Governments boost employment by moving people out of unemployment into employment, or shifting them out of Not In Workforce to one of the other two. Overall it doesn't cost Governments much as they already either pay unemployment benefit or numerous subsidies to Not In Workforce people ( pensioners, Mums etc). In fact boosting employment is a net benefit to Governments due to new tax income and less outgoings.

    So first point is that there is a resilience in the Labour pool that can start working as required. This happened quite visibly in WWI and WWII when lots of women moved from Not In Workforce to employed at the local munitions factory or in land work.

    The second effect in WWII was increase in productivity. People worked harder and longer for the same money. The was de-facto an increase in workforce. This latter effect goes some way to negating the broken window theories.

    Now Al "Weatherman" Gore is saying that by going to alternative energy we boost employment. He also seems to be creating the atmosphere (no pun intended) of a war against climate change. It may well be he is right about the jobs. They will appear and the people to fill them will sprout like dragons teeth.

    How to pay for these jobs? Obviously taxes like you would never believe on all 'traditional' energy sources (borrowing from overseas appears unlikely)

    What is the likely effect of this? Simply look at any recent major wars. Governments will break-even or make a profit. Employment will be boosted (at the expense of unemployment and NIW). We personally will have less disposable income as we are paying for new jobs. After a while other jobs will cease to exist because we aren't buying the goods any more, prices will fall, recession will start and at the end of 5 years we will throw out the existing Government, stop the war and try and resume as normal.


    Someone could invent cheap ways to make energy so that it makes sense to buy cheap energy rather than expensive energy. Not by up-pricing existing energy but by make new cheap energy. Almost a win-win situation except for the inflationary effect of lots of spare cash not being spent on energy (you win some you lose some).

    What Gore should really be doing is following my mantra

    "I'm not Green I'm Cheap"

    And making abundant low cost energy for the masses.

  64. Anne van der Bom

    Doomsday thinking

    I simply don't buy into this modern doomsday type of thinking: renewable energy will wreck our economies and kill millions op people. Make that millions of innocent people.

    From the American perspective, the Second World war was an enormous waste of money, never seen before and since. The proposed investments in green technology are nowhere near that. Did the Second World war wreck the US economy?

    How much money was wasted on Ronald Reagan's 'Star Wars' pet project? Did it wreck the economy? Landing a man on the Moon?

    I sick of all these pessimist fear mongers proclaiming green technology will mean the end of civilization.

  65. Solomon Grundy


    Yes, those things you mentioned are economy 101. The things I am talking about aren't taught at that level, stick with your studies a bit longer and you'll learn that terms like recession and such are relatively new terms that have little to do with underlying economic theory, that word in particular is a scare word that helps certain sectors of the financial/government power structure maintain control over the peasants.

    Someday you will learn about how recession in a capitalist society is built to the system, and is a required component of a well balanced economy. Recession is one of the primary sources of the redistribution of wealth. Other than war it's probably the best way to correct system errors.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But I digress...

    While I am most definitely ant-Al Gore, I am a firm believe in the overall goals of green living, if not for the environment, then for the sake of my wallet. Once we get over the initial hump of R&D and get into mass production, I believe the costs of perpetuating "green friendly fuels" will fall to a more practical amount.

    However, one particular item that I strongly discourage and disagree with damn near everybody on are those stupid florescent light bulbs, that are designed to replace regular incandescent light bulbs.

    They're junk. They don't last and it takes at least 5 to produce the same amount of light as one 100 watt bulb. Also, they contain mercury... Substituting something relatively useless and full of poison for something that drains off a little more energy?

    Sorry folks, this is one area I refuse to compromise in. I will happily recycle, turn the thermostat down in the winter, and up in the summer... Heck, I'm even looking for vehicles that are much more fuel efficient. But I will NEVER have another one of those turd light bulbs in my house ever again.

  67. Shakje


    do you have to write notes to yourself reminding you how to get out of bed in the morning bws? You clearly know nothing about academia or about project funding.

  68. Anne van der Bom


    You probably are quite happy with your half truth, but others are perhaps interested to know the other half of the truth. Which is: coal contains mercury. Using a conventional light bulbs releases around 5 times as much mercury into the envrionment because you use more energy. Myth busted.

    My experience with the lifetime of bulbs is very good. They last forever. I bought a small 3 w bulb to serve as a night light for my son when he was a toddler. He's now 10 and since then the damn thing burnt all night every night. That's 7 * 365 * 10 hrs = 25.000+ hrs. My experience with the other bulbs is about the same, but not as impressive. Of course if you're a cheapskate (as you quite happily admit yourself) you're probably buying low quality crap.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Last time I checked...

    There was a continent of unemployed Africans that would love to take on the jobs of our lowest paid workers.

    The authors problem is he clearly doesn't understand the global economy and is suggesting that each nation is a closed system.

    We've already moved our less interesting jobs off to China and India so that back here at home we can do more fun, interesting and better paid jobs. As China and India's economies improve they'll move the jobs down the chain to Africa whilst our old jobs continue over to China/India as we get the new latest and greatest jobs. Eventually machines just take over the roles when there's no need for human involvement anymore.

    The key in creating "green jobs" is to ensure they really are green however, there's no point making new solar panels in Africa if it costs more in fossil fuels than you'll ever save by shipping them here, but this is why we also need infrastructure, if we can produce green transport such as maglev trains powered by nuclear power plants which despite the idiot force who don't understand the technology believing otherwise are actually extremely clean and providing they're purely civilian reactors using modern technology produce an entirely un-problematic amount of waste for disposable.

    The green crusade is a good thing for everyone and Al Gore is a very bright person doing good work, it's just a shame the majority of the planet are actually stupid, the very first comment to this article demonstrates how scarily dumb some people on this planet actually are.

    It's sad that now that Science has produced all the evidence and consensus anyone would ever need to prove global warming is happening, is a problem and is caused primarily by CO2 there are still some people refusing to believe it. It also comes as no surprise however seeing as billions of people also still believe the universe was made by a little magic man somewhere up the sky who controls everything ever.

  70. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  71. Nick Collingridge

    Do you care more about yourself or other people?

    Let's face it - most of the AGW denialists have basically never grown beyond the point at which they are so self-centered that they just want to be able to do whatever they want to do - irrespective of its impact on anyone else (most people grow beyond this stage when they leave their teens). As a result they just don't want to believe in AGW because it might mean they will have to modify their behaviour.

    Essentially this is the Jeremy Clarkson syndrome, and there's no one more developmentally retarded than he is! If it were to come to a choice between Al Gore and Jeremy Clarkson, I know which one I'd trust my future to...

    So what about this whole big thing of "the scientists are all in it together and they just want to perpetuate the AGW thing because they get their funding from it". Well so far I have seen lots of people make this tenuous claim as a potential motive, but that's all it is - a potential motive. That in itself doesn't even begin to make it true.

    It MIGHT be true of some scientists, but no-one knows how many. I would hazard a guess that it's at best a pretty small percentage of them - having met some of them I know how genuine their view and concern is. It certainly can't be described as being ALL of them - that would be an unimaginably vast conspiracy and is just not credible, unless you really are a crazed conspiracist.

    Come on now, let's just drop this one, shall we?

  72. Bob Bobson

    Global Warming isn't real

    Of course it isn't - I'd have to make some minor changes to my lifestyle if it were so I'm going to say that all the scientists are liars and poopoo heads so I don't have to deal with it. Just like when they told me the earth was round.

    Seriously, get a brain. GW happens. Climate change is here - ask any half decent scientist. Who has an axe to grind? The scientist who's looking at data or the big companies that make profit from causing the problem?

  73. Rab S

    climate models

    I will belive the current doomsday predictions when their computer models can actually model the past...once thats done then they can move on to the future, lets face it they have been wrong in the past (cough global cooling)...

  74. Mark

    Re: climate models

    Well rejoice! because they do and have for years. That's what must be done for the model to be used to predict the likely future.

  75. David Robinson

    Al Gore

    Some ten years ago Al Gore gave a speech. After the speech, when he thought (wrongly) that the microphones were switched off he remarked to a friend onstage " Well, if we did'nt have global warming we would have to think of something else."

    This and his lifestyle certainly indicates a true believer! The problem is what it is that he is hiding behind the AGW front?


  76. David Robinson

    Re Climate models

    Yes, they have...and the best have been between 35-40% out.

    Give you confidence???


  77. Matt Crerar
    Thumb Down

    mass unemployment?

    Your premise of who is going to fill all these 'millions' of jobs as we have no mass unemployment in the US and UK is absolute nonsense. UK unemployment alone is 1.6 million, not including the 2.7 million on incapacity benefit of which a large proportion are claiming instead of jobseeker's much to the delight of the government to reduce their unemployment figures.

    I don't see how even an extra million people being productive for society and not living off state subsidies is a 'cost' and not a benefit.

    Though it's sounds like you'd be much happier with a reserve army of unemployed to keep your starbuck's coffee cheaper and economy based on 'finance capital' as that seems to be working so well at the moment...

  78. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    Re: Re climate models

    30-40% OF WHAT?

    Please show me where I can find this discrepancy.

    Or is it all mouth no trousers?

  79. David Pollard

    @ Anne van der Bom - CFLs

    It's bad logic to argue in favour of CFLs that they reduce the spread of mercury into the environment from coal-fired power stations. Both sources of pollution are undesirable. Mercury emissions from coal burners can be contained relatively easily and inexpensively (see e.g. while those from defunct CFLs are very difficult to capture.

    But why are CFLs only easily available in that ghastly warm white, when it should be easy to make other colour temperatures? It's this that mostly puts me off them, as well as over-zealous claims about their efficiency and cost saving.

  80. ratfox Silver badge

    Creating jobs

    The trick in creating jobs is to make people to pay for them. If you have no good incentive, people are going to keep their money. But if you say the world is gonna end otherwise, they'll shell out...

    As it stands, I prefer it if we create jobs in a possibly unnecessary "green" industry than in fighting other countries...

  81. Roger Weston

    Money is not a scare resource

    Ecconomics is all about make efficenty use of scare resources. The problem is we don't look t all the resources as scarce. In fact the only resource that by definition is not scare is money

    The financial system is something humanity has created. The is no physical limit to the amount of money in the world. It is therefore noncense talking about cost on a global scale in financial money terms.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020