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Fact check: Jonah Goldberg FAIL on wind jobs

Fact check: Jonah Goldberg FAIL on wind jobs

Sometimes you can be so blinded by ideology that you don't see what is staring you in the face.  Case in point: columnist Jonah Goldberg's recent rant about cleantech jobs that has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Houston Chronicle and other outlets.

I mean, here's Mr. Goldberg sitting down to write a polemic on supposedly nonexistent jobs, and he begins it with a tale of seeing a large flatbed trailer bearing a wind turbine rotor blade to a wind farm site. And (one assumes) another, and another (he says, “… I saw a lot of them.”)

Now, a normal person's first thought would be, wow, those are big.  But the second thought might well be: all of that big equipment must be being made somewhere … by workers with manufacturing jobs … hmmm, America needs manufacturing jobs … great!!  Hardly seems like a promising launch pad for an attack on jobs, nor does the country's current economic condition seem to warrant an assault on a brand new industry that has grown rapidly, lured investment, created new manufacturing jobs, and revitalized many rural communities, while creating steadily increasing amounts of clean energy.

Oh well, one never knows.

While he is dumping on wind power, energy efficiency, and other good ideas, Mr. Goldberg takes the opportunity to once again drag out a thoroughly discredited petro-funded report on green jobs in Spain.  Here are some links on that, most dating from the report's publication in 2009:

Spanish jobs study fact sheet
Critique of Spanish jobs study by (U.S.) National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Blog article summarizing NREL critique
“Fox hosts author of discredited study to bash green jobs,” September 1, 2011, Media Matters

The facts about wind and jobs are straightforward enough: wind power has accounted for 35 percent of the new electricity generation capacity installed in the U.S. over the past four year, more than nuclear and coal combined.  At the same time, after explosive growth in 2005 through 2010, domestic American manufacturing now produces some 60 percent of the content of U.S.-deployed wind turbines, having expanded 12-fold in just six years.

Why is the bogus Spanish jobs study being exhumed from a well-deserved grave and trotted around for a second run on fossil-friendly media, and why is Mr. Goldberg giving it credibility?  My guess is, it's part of a thinly-veiled effort to take advantage of the country's current deficit problems and lay the groundwork for urging Congress to raise taxes on a new clean, homegrown, affordable energy option that is ahead of schedule to make 20 percent of America's electricity by 2030.

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