Most political parties in the U.K. sell the new green revolution by pointing to all the new skilled jobs that will be created. The British Government looks to produce no fewer than two million such ‘green’ jobs by 2030. But there is little sign of all these new opportunities. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently reported that there were 526,000 green jobs in 2020, but they include workers in the waste business, electric vehicles, education and management of Government bodies. Back in the day we would have called people working in such occupations dustmen, mechanics, teachers and bureaucrats. Most of the jobs being claimed simply stick a ’green’ label on either existing occupations, or are people switching, as in the transport business, to working on new products.
There are also a large number of ‘make work’ jobs listed in the ONS report including environmental charities, environment-related education, in-house environmental activities and environmental consultancy. Speculative ventures that are unlikely to turn into significant future businesses such as hydrogen supply and carbon capture and storage are included.
About 10% of the green jobs are to be found in charities, while many other occupations in waste collection, water treatment, repairs and forest management have always existed. Work on making more energy efficient products is hardly a new activity. It is probably not an exaggeration to state that the ‘great reset’ under way in the collectivist Net Zero project has barely created more than 150,000 genuine new jobs in the U.K. But the economic damage is mounting steadily. Across Europe, the high price of energy caused by a transition to unreliable wind is causing significant de-industrialisation, while the food production industry is facing potential collapse with a green war on fertiliser and meat production. Try telling 3,000 redundant steel workers in Port Talbot and the farmers who have been blocking roads across the continent that they are in the forefront of an exciting new green industrial revolution.
People are starting to twig. Gary Smith runs the GMB union which is heavily represented in manufacturing industries, and he recently noted the small number of jobs that are being produced by green technology. In an interview in the Spectator, he said that communities along the North Sea can see wind farms, “but they can’t point to the jobs”. He added that much of the green work seemed to be either London-based lobbying or clearing away the animal casualties of wind farm blades. “It’s usually a man in a rowing boat, sweeping up the dead birds,” he observed.
At least the ONS is trying to identify actual green jobs that have been created. Windy politicians can take more creative liberties – step forward London mayor Sadiq Khan, Chairman of the sinister green billionaire-funded C40 group of around 100 city mayors. He told the UN Climate Ambition Summit last year that “new data” from C40 revealed that over 14 million green jobs have been created in 53 C40 cities alone. Of course there are those who understandably start counting the spoons whenever Khan starts talking about stats and data these days, so it is instructive to see what the Mayor’s own contribution in London is to this highly improbable jobs total. In 2020, he launched London’s Green New Deal fund with £10 million to “support” around 1,000 green jobs. Other ambitions include tackling the ‘climate emergency’ and addressing inequalities. The cynical might observe that this is a drop in the bucket for an economic stimulus, let alone stopping the climate changing and providing woke solutions to the ever-expanding list of victim causes. If there are any new job details provided they tend to feature insulating homes, which in the case of London’s drafty Victorian housing stock is likely to need billions of pounds rather than Khan’s paltry figure.
More details of Khan’s supposed green jobs can be gained by examining the funding that he has given to a number of skills hubs to prepare London for the expected tsunami of green opportunities. The hub lead is the Capital City College Group covering 12 London boroughs, and it says it will “focus on green occupations in the construction sector including roles in waste and recycling management, off-site manufacturing and pre-fabrication, gas engineers and heating/plumbing technicians and electric vehicle charging point installations”. None of these jobs are new except installing EV charging stations. This latter occupation is a displacement activity since a higher number of EVs on the road will lead to fewer jobs installing and maintaining petrol pumps and the delivery of fuel. Indeed it can be argued that much of the money collected for green activity is displacement since it removes genuine job-creating wealth from the private sector and pours it into vast subsidies and second-rate jobs in uneconomic, inferior technologies.
Back on Planet Reality, the threads are unravelling on the insane Net Zero project. Politicians, belatedly, are starting to realise that removing hydrocarbons from an advanced modern society will send humanity back to the caves, as explained by COP28 President Sultan Al-Jaber. Even the BBC has cottoned on with Laura Kuenssberg asking if, in the wake of the opposition Labour party ditching its £28 billion a year green commitment, “the politics of climate change [are] going out of fashion”?
The journalist Ross Clark has written an excellent review of the obvious retreat from Net Zero for Net Zero Watch, noting that the project was always going to require a multitude of new technologies, “many of which have yet to be invented or scaled up to commercial operation”. Already, he notes, many of the potential solutions such as hydrogen heating have started to fall by the wayside before they have been established. Reliance is being placed on an ever-smaller pool of technologies, and many of these, too, are creaking under the weight of expectation, such as wind and solar energy, he writes.
Net Zero might be starting to fall, but it seems there are still plenty of ‘charity’ jobs in the green economy. Or more accurately, activist work in operations funded by elite green billionaires intent on promoting a wealth and job destroying supra-national reset of global civilisation.
Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic’s Environment Editor.