What’s green, employs ten times as many people as the “fossil fuel industry” and fake?

By David Middleton – Re-Blogged From WUWT

What’s green, employs ten times as many people as the “fossil fuel industry” and fake? The “green economy“.

Hat tip to Kevin McNeill…

US green economy has 10 times as many jobs as the fossil fuel industry

ENVIRONMENT 15 October 2019
By Adam Vaughan

The green economy has grown so much in the US that it employs around 10 times as many people as the fossil fuel industry – despite the past decade’s oil and gas boom.

The fossil fuel sector, from coal mines to gas power plants, employed around 900,000 people in the US in 2015-16, government figures show. But Lucien Georgeson and Mark Maslin at University College London found that over the same period this was vastly outweighed by the green economy, which provided nearly 9.5 million jobs, or 4 per cent of the working age population. The pair defined the green economy broadly, covering everything from renewable energy to environmental consultancy.

The US stopped recording green job statistics several years ago, but these suggested 3.4 million people worked in the sector in 2011. Maslin and Georgeson used a much broader set of 26 sub-sectors including wind and solar power, marine pollution controls, carbon capture, biodiversity and air pollution. Maslin says the figures have been underestimated in the past, partly because the green economy is so diffuse.

New Fake Scientist

“The stupid, it burns”

Crowing about an “economy” being larger than an “industry” is as stupid as crowing about a century being longer than a day. Most economies will employ more people than most industries. Economies tend to be composed of multiple industries that provide goods and services to consumers.

Who gives a schist about an “economy” of any color employing more people than a particular “industry”? Furthermore, there is no such thing as *a* fossil fuel industry. Oil & gas are found, produced, processed and sold by the oil & gas industry. Coal is produced and sold by the coal industry. Apart from a handful of companies, like BHP, there is very little overlap of these two industries. The utilities industry converts some of the produced coal, natural gas and oil into electricity. The steel industry uses coal to produce steel. The petrochemical industry uses oil & natural gas to make “plastics, rubbers, resins, synthetic fibers, adhesives, dyes, detergents, pesticides, and petroleum-derived paints and coatings,” as well as the synthetic fertilizer that feeds half of the human population.

Figure 1. Petrochemical flow chart (EnergiMedia).
Figure 2. “Trends in human population and nitrogen use throughout the twentieth century. Of the total world population (solid line), an estimate is made of the number of people that could be sustained without reactive nitrogen from the Haber–Bosch process (long dashed line), also expressed as a percentage of the global population (short dashed line). The recorded increase in average fertilizer use per hectare of agricultural land (blue symbols) and the increase in per capita meat production (green symbols) is also shown.” Erisman et al., 2008

Fossil fuels enable 100% of the employment in most industries. The fossil fuels industries have literally been lifting people out of poverty for more than 150 years.

The “green economy”, to the extent it can be defined, imposes a market on the real economy for the purpose of providing goods and services government bureaucrats decided we should be forced to accept.

The green economy “gives people . . . what a particular group thinks they ought to want.”

“A major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that it … gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.”

Milton Friedman

The pair defined the green economy broadly, covering everything from renewable energy to environmental consultancy.

New Fake Scientist

While there would be at least a limited market for “renewable energy” without government diktats, the demand for “environmental consultancy” is entirely driven by government diktats. This doesn’t necessarily make it bad, but it doesn’t produce anything. In the oil & gas industry, we have to comply with myriad government regulations. The larger a company gets, the larger its HSE (health, safety & environment) and regulatory compliance departments get. These are important things… But they are 100% cost centers.


If the “green economy” employs 10 times as many people as the “fossil fuel industry,” real economy employs 15 times as many people as the fake economy.

  • US non-farm employees = 151.9 million
  • US “green economy” employees = 9.4 million
  • 151.9 – 9.4 = 142.5
  • 142.5 / 9.4 = 15.2

The purpose of businesses and industries

Industries are composed of businesses that generate goods and services for the purpose of generating profits for the owners of the businesses.

“There is one and only one social responsibility of business–to use it resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud”

Milton Friedman

Nothing here exists to provide jobs. Businesses employ the number of people they need to execute their business model.

“Public discourse tends to be carried out in terms of jobs, as if a great objective was to create jobs. Now that’s not our objective at all. There’s no problem about creating jobs. We can create any number of jobs in having people dig holes and fill them up again. Do we want jobs like that? No. Jobs are a price and we have to work to live. Whereas if you listen to the terminology you would think that we live to work. Now some of us do. There are workaholics just like there are alcoholics and some of us do live to work. But in the main, what we want is not jobs, but productive jobs. We want jobs that will be able to produce the goods and services that we consume at a minimum expenditure of effort. In a way, the appropriate national objective is to have the fewest possible jobs. That is to say, the least amount of work for the greatest amount of products.”

Milton Friedman


What is ‘Productivity’
Productivity is an economic measure of output per unit of input. Inputs include labor and capital, while output is typically measured in revenues and other gross domestic product (GDP) components such as business inventories. Productivity measures may be examined collectively (across the whole economy) or viewed industry by industry to examine trends in labor growth, wage levels and technological improvement.

BREAKING DOWN ‘Productivity’
Productivity gains are vital to the economy, as they mean that more is being accomplished with less. Capital and labor are both scarce resources, so maximizing their impact is a core concern of modern business. Productivity enhancements come from technology advances, such as computers and the internet, supply chain and logistics improvements, and increased skill levels within the workforce.


The New Fake Scientist article asserts that the “fossil fuel industry” only employs about 900,000 people. According to the 2019 U.S. Energy and Employment Report, it employs over 1.1 million people just in these United States. Regarding productivity, there is no comparison between “renewables” and real energy:

Figure 3. Energy industry productivity expressed as tons of oil equivalent (TOE) per job. Employment numbers are from the 2019 U.S. Energy and Employment Report, MTOE are from BP’s 2019 Statistical Review of World Energy.

In a previous post, one of the comments suggested that it was unfair to compare primary energy, because only about 25% of the fossil fuel primary energy is delivered as electricity. In the case of oil, it’s even less. Most natural gas production is used for purposes other than electricity generation and natural gas is still generally the leading fuel for electricity generation in the U.S.

2018 U.S. Natural Gas Consumption by Sector (billion cubic feet, Bcf), US EIA

Sector  Bcf %
Electric Power            10,626 36%
Industrial Sector              9,966 33%
Residential              4,974 17%
Commercial              3,476 12%
Transportation                  839 3%
Total Consumption            29,880

In 2018, total marketed U.S. natural gas production was 32,823 Bcf. Net exports amounted to 691 Bcf. Just 32% of natural gas production was consumed for electricity generation.

Despite the fact that >99% of crude oil and 68% of natural gas production are not used for electricity generation, oil & gas generate 2.5 times as much electricity per job as wind and 6.75 times as much as solar.

TWh Jobs TWh/Job
Oil & Gas   1,494,000      924,399         1.62
Coal   1,146,000      197,418         5.80
Fossil Fuels   4,171,000   1,121,817         3.72
Nuclear      807,000        72,146       11.19
Wind        74,529      111,000         0.67
Solar        64,000      269,564         0.24

The “Green Economy” is dependent on fossil fuels

I just love irony. Texas leads the nation (and probably most nations) in wind power production (Yiiihah!). I drive between Houston and Dallas quit often on I-45. I don’t see these as often now as I did back in the mid-2000’s, but I still occasionally see them:

Any guesses at to what fuels that tractor trailer? What about the ships that delivered the turbine blades to their ports of entry?

How much steel and concrete are required for a typical wind farm?

Jul 1, 2012, 10:53 am
Is The Answer, My Friend, Blowing In The Wind?

James Conca


As an example, a MW of installed capacity for wind requires 460 metric tons of steel and 870 m3 of concrete compared to the 98 metric tons of steel and 160 m3 of concrete for coal, and the even lower 40 metric tons of steel and 90 m3 of concrete for nuclear. Natural gas is the lowest of all, requiring a little over 3 metric tons of steel and 27 m3 of concrete per MW, the reason gas plants are the cheapest and easiest to build.


How much coal is required for each MW of wind turbine capacity?

Steel is an essential material for modern life. The manufacture of steels delivers the goods and services that our societies need – healthcare, telecommunications, improved agricultural practices, better transport networks, clean water and access to reliable and affordable energy. Global steel production is dependent on coal. 70% of the steel produced today uses coal. Metallurgical coal – or coking coal – is a vital ingredient in the steel making process. World crude steel production was 1.4 billion tonnes in 2010. Around 721 million tonnes of coking coal was used in the production of steel.

Ram River Coal Corp.

Coal is used as an energy source in cement production. Large amounts of energy are required to produce cement. It takes about 200 kg of coal to produce one tonne of cement and about 300-400 kg of cement is needed to produce one cubic metre of concrete.

World Coal Association

That works out to about 267 tonnes of coal per MW of installed wind capacity.

Even funnier…

Nov 12, 2019, 07:21pm
‘Deep Electrification’ Means More Natural Gas

Jude Clemente

For environmental reasons, there’s an ongoing push to “electrify everything,” from cars to port operations to heating.

The idea is that a “deep electrification” will help lower greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.

The reality, however, is that more electrification will surge the need for electricity, an obvious fact that seems to be getting forgotten.

The majority of this increase occurs in the transportation sector: electric cars can increase home power usage by 50% or more.

The U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) says that “electrification has the potential to significantly increase overall demand for electricity.”

NREL reports that a “high” electrification scenario would up our power demand by around 40% through 2050.

A high electrification scenario would grow our annual power consumption by 80 terawatt hours per year.


Ultimately, much higher electricity demand favors all sources of electricity, a “rising tide lifts all boats” sort of thing.

But in particular, it favors gas because gas supplies almost 40% of U.S. electricity generation, up from 20% a decade ago.


Indeed, EPRI models that U.S. gas usage increases under “all” electrification scenarios even if gas prices more than double to $6.00 per MMBtu.

Some are forgetting that the clear growth sectors for the U.S. gas industry are a triad, in order: LNG exports, electricity, manufacturing.



Irony can be so… ironic. The “green economy” is 100% dependent on the “Climate Wrecking Industry” . . .

Who’s up for some Milton Friedman?

Note on comments

I am a geologist. I know my schist. Pedantic comments like this will be mercilessly ridiculed:

You just misused a perfectly good word……….using it for something it is not. “Schist” is not, cutely, hatched -up slang word. Geologically and petrographically speaking, a schist is a type of metamorphic rock.

Check out your snark before you use it……schist-head.

Pedantic comment

Also . . . An ellipsis consists of three dots (. . .) . . . More dots isn’t cleverer. Spelling and grammar are important. I detest text-messaging gibberish, except for WTF? and variations of LMAO!.

If you are tired of my use geological euphemisms for cuss words . . . I don’t care.

I am also not interested in your predictions about the future, unless there’s a pop culture reference.

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