StatCan just exposed how worthless ‘green’ industries are to Canada’s economy
December 19, 2018 | Philip Cross | Financial Post
Meanwhile, green energy’s marginal and largely meaningless existence will be expensive for both taxpayers and electricity customer
Statistics Canada’s release this week of the first estimates of its Environmental and Clean Technology Accounts.
StatCan’s green-economy accounts include everything from hydro and nuclear power to services such as waste management to manufacturing clean-energy goods such as wind turbines. StatCan does not yet document the subsidies supporting these various activities. Environmental and clean-technology industries accounted for a puny 3.1 per cent of Canada’s GDP in 2017. More importantly, StatCan noted that this ratio has remained relatively stable since 2007 when the data began.
The green economy’s share of GDP stagnated for 10 of the biggest years for pro-green policies and hefty government support, and against historically slow growth in the rest of the economy. If the green economy cannot flourish in these circumstances, it is doubtful it ever will.
The green economy is even less important for jobs, contributing only 1.6 per cent of total employment.
If clean-tech and green-tech are the jobs of tomorrow, as their boosters tirelessly claim, then our job prospects are bleak indeed. This reflects that green energy, like all energy sources, uses more capital than labour.
Environmental and Clean Technology Products Economic Account, employment: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=3610041101
Moreover, these tabulations ignore job losses from the higher cost of renewable energy, such as wind and solar. Rising electricity rates across Canada show that the environment and the economy often work in opposite directions, no matter how often Environment Minister Catherine McKenna keeps repeating that they don’t. Critics call the process by which clean-energy projects raise energy prices that kill jobs “renewable destruction” (unlike capitalism’s famous “creative destruction,” which shifts resources from maturing sectors to new, higher-growth sectors).
There are two lessons to be drawn from the tepid growth of Canada’s green sector. It will be a long time, if ever, before it makes a significant contribution to jobs and income in Canada. And in the meantime, even its marginal and largely meaningless existence will be expensive for both taxpayers and electricity customers — a reflection that putting the environment before the economy comes at a cost that many will object to paying. The green economy will not flourish until it makes economic as well as environmental sense.
StatCan: Environmental and Clean Technology Products Economic Account, employment: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=3610041101