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« Bristol bound | Main | The Royal and the Arctic »

Green jobs disappear

Paul Homewood has discovered, via an FOI request, that the government has decided to quietly shelve its green jobs dataset. Paul surmises, surely correctly, that the promised green jobs have not actually materialised.

I have often noted that to the extent that green jobs are created, the related technologies will be expensive. Mr Davey's great economic breakthrough is to burden the country with technologies that are both expensive, disfunctional, and do not actually create much employment at all.

He has broken the mould.

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Reader Comments (57)

Perhaps they actually listened.

Sep 22, 2014 at 11:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

The dataset used in the old LCEGS reports is available at

No doubt some equal monster will replace the old, and it will be impossible for the public to find out how the government estimates the 'green economy'.

Sep 22, 2014 at 11:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterBen Pile

There are a lot of solar farms going up. I predict there will be lots of green jobs cleaning the millions of panels and strimming all the weeds growing under them. These would be ideal jobs for PPEs, ex-climate change officers and "climate scientists". To maximise these green jobs, the cleaners could be provided with tiny sponges and cups of water and manual strimmers (shears) could be provided.

Sep 22, 2014 at 12:00 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Maybe the green jobs are hiding in the deep ocean - along with the missing heat.

Sep 22, 2014 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterjaffa

I'm waiting for the day they conclude that people on the dole are actually green role models. It's probably a cheaper way to reduce CO2 than creating a green job.

Sep 22, 2014 at 12:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

pedant alert:
"how the government estimates the 'green economy'"?

surely this should read

"how the innumerate eco activists embedded in DECC contrive to poop "sound bite jobs" into any media incurious enough to copy 'n paste"

cynical, moi?

Philip Bratby - perhaps when the backlash arrives - somebody'll want to restore the treadwheel - I personally see no reason why DECC can't be powered by these :-)

Sep 22, 2014 at 12:27 PM | Registered Commentertomo

In the stimulus package passed in 2009 in the US, there was a lot of money set aside and spent on renewable energy. When the auditors went and looked at where the jobs were created with the billions spent, they found that 70% went off shore. Its no wonder that during discussions of a second stimulus, renewable energy funding was omitted.

Sep 22, 2014 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterSean

Just 'what' is a 'Green Job'?

The tea-lady at DfBIS servicing the needs of the 'Green Jobs stats compiler' perhaps?

Sep 22, 2014 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Sean@12:35 PM

What you're saying sounds likely - but a link to who benefitted (if available!) would be useful. In the past direct raids on the public purse or large tranches of cash borrowed on the taxpayer's account have a tendency to "evaporate". Slightly O/T - but the final destination of IMF funds has a pretty murky history too....

Sep 22, 2014 at 12:57 PM | Registered Commentertomo

The mere fact that the data to support the claim is not made available says it all really. The money is the from the public and the deliverable is the data to the public. Contract = crap and its a bunch of LibDems......again!!

Sep 22, 2014 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterEx-expat Colin

@ Philip Bratby said: "There are a lot of solar farms going up. I predict there will be lots of green jobs cleaning the millions of panels and strimming all the weeds growing under them"

I asked the developers of a proposed Solar Farm in Norfolk about the "maintenance" services they were offering in their promotional blurb. Apparently this consists of a twice yearly clean with an attachment mounted on a Mercedes Unimog. The weeds will (presumably) be dealt with by the sheep, which are always cited by such developers, as being happy to graze under the panels.

Not many jobs there....

Sep 22, 2014 at 1:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Ward

@ Joe Public - I once saw a detailed explanation of exactly what constitutes a "Green Job". Suffice to say "The tea-lady at DfBIS" isn't far off the mark!

Sep 22, 2014 at 1:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Ward

Dave: Sheep don't like to eat weeds. It's cold and permanently shaded under the panels and the weeds have no nutritional value, hence they have to be removed manually or using weedkiller.

Sep 22, 2014 at 1:23 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Dave Ward. To be fair, she does now offer organically grown, Fair Trade green tea. Though it's only Sarah in accounting that drinks it.

Seriously, does anywhere still have a tea lady? I thought they'd gone the way of the dodo. OMG! Don't tell me I've hit upon the real first victim of climate change?

Sep 22, 2014 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Perhaps they are working on a new breed of "green" sheep which will eat weeds?

Sep 22, 2014 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

are "Green Jobs" green ? and should ministers be claiming a halo ?
e.g. in the Humber region
- The Danish engineers who are are flown in everyday to Humberside airport on a special flight
- The Italian engineers who also work on the windfarm, cos local engineers like me refuse to work with green mafia
- The German staff who will inevitably come to work at the Siemens plant in Green Port Hull, which despite the hype still has not yet started (could be a couple of weeks) ..In fact another team of Germans were flying around the area the other day

Sep 22, 2014 at 2:01 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Rockefellers and investors pledge $50bn divestment from fossil fuels

Rockefeller Brothers Fund, set up by heirs of the family that became rich on oil, will divest from fossil fuels over five years

Sep 22, 2014 at 2:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterhusq

Jimmy Haig and Philip Bratby - goats might do it, but they are sprightly animals and might jump on the panels. Lots of little cloven hoofprints or smashed panels. Back to the drawing board...

Wiltshire Council's cabinet have just signed up to the Climate Local initiative, so probably some more non-jobs being created there. It will be interesting to see how they calculate reduction in co2 emissions - there is a massive problem with car parking at county hall. They might try special 2+ parking areas to encourage car sharing which might help ease the problem. I bet they would then calculate how much carbon is saved and use that in their returns to central govt. There are plenty of examples of this sort of bending the statistics to suit.

Sep 22, 2014 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy


Between 2010/11 and 2011/12 the 'growth' was actually NEGATIVE in 12 of the 24 categories; zero in ten of the remaining 12, leaving TWO with 0.1% growth....

Don't it just give you a warm rosy glow - especially knowing that the government is ditching the measurement for the latest annual result..?

Daily Mail/Daily Telegraph - come on - where are you..?

Sep 22, 2014 at 2:37 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

@ Philip Bratby - Point taken. However, if that is really the case, why do these shysters always trumpet the "land can continue to be used for agriculture" line? Here are some pictures of another site in Norfolk (only a mile from the North Sea) showing happy lambs and their mothers frolicking in the sun:
Those pictures were taken a few months ago - I must go for drive and take a closer look to see if it's still the case.

Any sites that do use weed killer will hardly encourage Bees - another claim frequently touted. In fact, the company I referred to in my first comment above (Solar Century) even gave me a little book to help identify different species, and a packet of wild flower seeds! I think they wanted to get rid of me, after I started asking some awkward questions...

Sep 22, 2014 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Ward

One sheep to another:

'They expect us to feed on the rubbish weeds under those slopey things..? They must be baaaaaaarmy...'


Sep 22, 2014 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

"Jimmy Haig and Philip Bratby - goats might do it, but they are sprightly animals and might jump on the panels. Lots of little cloven hoofprints or smashed panels."

I think they were manufactured with the imprint of the cloven hoof.

Sep 22, 2014 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

"Rockefellers and investors pledge $50bn divestment from fossil fuels"

Translation: China has offered us a really, really good price on our shares.

Sep 22, 2014 at 2:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

Re "Goats" - this cartoon appeared in the EDP around the same time as the picture spread above:

Sep 22, 2014 at 2:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Ward

Rockefeller Brothers Fund, set up by heirs of the family that became rich on oil, will divest from fossil fuels over five years
If they were really serious they could do it in five days!

Sep 22, 2014 at 3:11 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

An event I was at recently had a group of eager Transition Town people demonstrating to willing punters how you can generate electricity on a static bicycle.

Don't laugh, that particular green job may be essential this winter.....

Sep 22, 2014 at 3:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Every time I see one of those slow turns of a wind turbine (when the thing is not stationary) I think of £1 of bill payers money going to the land owner, and a negligible amount of power going into the grid.

Sep 22, 2014 at 3:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

Dave Ward, I have a couple of photos of the 'Solar Meadow' installed in Dalkeith (just south of Edinburgh) over a year ago. There isn't a single plant growing under the panels, they must be suppressing everything with some pretty strong weedkiller.

It's more Solar 'desolate industrial landscape' than 'meadow'.

Sep 22, 2014 at 4:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterNial

Grumpy 2:25 PM
hmm.... I tend to think of goats as biomass fueled "four legged strimmers" - you have in my experience to use a metal chain to tether them - and they have quite a predilection for certain types of plastic Years ago I had a series of failures at v. remote solar and gas powered radio stations because the local goats had a taste for the antenna cable insulation and the the flexible propane pipes (chewing gum for goats?)

I look forward to seeing them deployed on solar subsidy farms :-)

Sep 22, 2014 at 4:07 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Dave Ward: Those pictutres from the EDP are unusual. Solar panels are usually in rows of sets of three, and much higher off the ground. In a couple of weeks time those lambs would be jumping on the panels. I suspect those photos are of the brand new panels, taken in spring with the sun shining early morning or evening and before the grass has had time to be affected by the shade of the panels.

Sep 22, 2014 at 4:18 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

re: creating jobs. The mistake is to equate number of jobs with success. Visiting China 20 yrs ago I passed a road construction crew. 1 bulldozer (lack of equipment) and 50 men. That is how you "create jobs" in a make-work program: be as inefficient as possible. Since inefficiency is a specialty of government, creating jobs is easy for them...

Sep 22, 2014 at 5:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterCraig Loehle

It's about SUSTAINING green jobs ie. keeping the "green jobs" of the levels & levels of management within DECC

Sep 22, 2014 at 5:32 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

@ Dave Ward 1:00 PM and @ Phillip Bratby 1:23 PM

Ah! Two green jobs - shepherd AND groundsman. Solar really does help reduce unemployment.

Sep 22, 2014 at 5:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Davey is a form of Mould.

Sep 22, 2014 at 5:57 PM | Unregistered Commenterturnedoutnice

@ Messenger 3:33 PM

"An event I was at recently had a group of eager Transition Town people demonstrating to willing punters how you can generate electricity on a static bicycle."

Speed freak Guy Martin, whilst training to break the British record for outright speed on a bicycle: an incredible 110mph - managed to generate (only) about 350W for a short duration.

Guy's contribution towards Global Warming & CO2 production can be viewed by clicking 'images' and then googling "guy martin tt crash images"

Sep 22, 2014 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Craig Loehle

In Indonesia, you go to a superstore and decide what you want, fighting your way round the numerous shelf fillers in each section, who leap in to rearrange anything you move, and having made a decision, you take your prospective purchase to a counter, where you queue to hand it to a girl who puts it a bag, while another makes out the bill, which she hands to another girl who staples it to your shopping, which you then take to another queue where you join the line to pay.

Needless to say they are all paid a pittance. .

Sep 22, 2014 at 6:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

I suspect that the most effective way of generating energy out of a solar farm would be to let a herd of goats eat the panels, then extract the methane produced by shoving a hosepipe up their ar**es and using it to power a gas turbine.

Sep 22, 2014 at 6:39 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Green jobs? Depends on what you mean and by what definition and criteria.

government has decided to quietly shelve its green jobs dataset. Paul surmises, surely correctly, that the promised green jobs have not actually materialised.

Yer know it, that, there have been thousands of "green jobs" created here in Britain.

[And yes Paul, I know the sort of jobs you are referring to - but most of these are 'offshored'].

Let it be known, the true state of Britain's problems, these said "green jobs" don't produce anything, in actual fact they are a drain on the real economy. We can start with the DECC, the Environment Agency, Natural England, Global warming officers in councils up and down the country, plus if we start counting those non jobs in say recycling - same difference, inexorably the cost can start to be counted in £ loads of jobs but FA productivity. And in essence that is what "green jobs" is all about - a black hole in the nation's finances.

People not only here in Britain but across Europe and particularly in Germany are beginning to wonder about the great green scam - how much in real terms it has cost the economies of western nations [specifically the EU] - because the sums are astronomical. How stupid can it get? Hmm, well here in the UK the powers that are - are still riding the green gravy train for all it's worth - no wonder Britain's national debt is north of £3.5 TRILLION.

The greatest swindle, the largest Ponzi scheme ever devised and yet we're still sending good money after bad, it will end badly - in a financial catastrophe it's just a question of when.

Sep 22, 2014 at 8:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Philip Bratby and Dave Ward have you heard of The Goat Theory.

What Goats and Global Warming both have in common,they can both be milked to death.

Sep 22, 2014 at 8:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

I suppose green 'jobs' could be protected by combining solar panels with suitable plantations - or even more so by unsuitable ones - some of the species listed here could be very labour-intensive indeed to deal with around extensive hardware installations:

Sep 22, 2014 at 10:01 PM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor

stew green at Sep 22 - 2.01pm.

Siemens plans a big wind turbine manufacturing plant on Humberside ???
Are they mad? Or just getting a free trip?

Turbine manufacturers are chopping staff and prices to try and stay in business, not always successfully. There is large manufacturing over-capacity and a less than buoyant market, with little or nil chance of recovery. The reality is that wind turbines increase the cost of electricity and barely reduce CO2 emissions, and this is so obvious that even most politicians are starting to realise it.

Sep 22, 2014 at 10:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

@Dave Ward, I think if you go there now it will be a very different picture. Those sheep were specially imported for the picture shoot for the publicity value - it looks good in green advertising.

The other thing that looks rather odd is the angle of the panels, it looks wrong for the geographic location. In other words this is just for the subsidies - the section connection boxes appear to be missing as does the master hand-off to the grid building.

Sep 22, 2014 at 10:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterivan

The news at 10:00 said that the Labia Party will create a Million new green jobs.
Or was it 3 Million. I was laughing too much to be sure.
Still, it will give lovers of expensive inefficiency something to look forward to.

Sep 22, 2014 at 11:04 PM | Unregistered Commentermartin brumby

Did the Green jobs go to China?

Each person in China produced 7.2 tons of carbon dioxide on average compared with 6.8 tons in Europe, 16.4 tons in the U.S. and 1.9 tons in India in 2013, according to the study by the Tyndall Center and the University of Exeter’s College of Mathematics and Physical Sciences.

With crossover achieved climate policy is looking rather ineffectual.

Sep 22, 2014 at 11:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

Goats are magical creatures. Many moons ago I was faced with an overgrown paddock, fencing beyond repair and totally lack of funds.

Watching my feeble attempts with a scythe a neighbour proffered the loan of his goat, "Just fix the fence and leave him to it".

With no cash for materials or inclination on a hot summers weekend to get out a fencing maul I accepted the loan.

Long tether, deck chair, bucket full of water infused with cans of Long Life beer, let land clearance begin.

In the following hour I found out this goat was sociable. No matter how far away "Billy" was led he immediately returned to the deck chair. Yes he removed material from around the deck chair, along with a few exploratory nibbles of the chair itself. But that was it.

There then ensued a system of work, untangle tether from my feet, move deck chair and bucket about 6 feet sit down, relax until goat started bobbing for beer cans.

Result? The weirdest looking miniature crop circles ever seen and a friendship with "Billy" that lasted many years, maybe it was the beer?

Neighbour showed how and helped me fix the fence, still standing!

Sep 22, 2014 at 11:18 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

16.4 ton ?
is that all stool??

Sep 23, 2014 at 12:00 AM | Unregistered Commenterptw

Green Sand - yup - saw an ornate Victorian Greenhouse emerge from a huge 15ft high briar patch over a summer weekend in the 70's with the assistance of two (loaned) goats - it was indeed like magic.

Sep 23, 2014 at 12:11 AM | Registered Commentertomo

ptw: no, it's several factors.

First of all, the US includes a lot of areas that, whether you're talking mid-winter in Alaska or North Dakota or mid-summer in Arizona or Texas, comfort means energy consumption.

In much of the US, distances are greater than typical in Europe, so there's only a few pockets in which travel can reasonably be done by train vs aircraft.

And further, many of us have hydrocabron-intensive recreational interests and regard the Chevrolet Suburban as 'mass transit'.

Sep 23, 2014 at 12:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterJEM

"a friendship with "Billy" that lasted many years"

A courageous admission O vertly arenaceous one and it's well beyond my tether I'll say but let slip this....... ilk of my fathers, hailing from the land of the sheep husbanders..........


Sep 23, 2014 at 12:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.


"A courageous admission O vertly arenaceous one....."

One has a duty to tell it how it was and I appreciate how a young Christian monk would have such understanding. But beware young sir, goats eat wellies!

Sep 23, 2014 at 12:47 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

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