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Spanish thought leaders debunk unfounded green jobs report

The real Spanish experienceSpanish thought leaders debunk unfounded green jobs report(via Center For American Progress)The Heritage Foundation and its conservative allies have been using

unfounded evidence to claim that investments in renewable energy lead to

higher prices and job losses. The report that they are touting was written

by Professor Gabríel Calzada Álvarez, a virtually unknown scholar in Spain

who works for a small research institute with clear ties to the energy

industry and the extreme right-wing of the Spanish Conservative Party.The reality is that Spain has, over the past several years, pursued an

ambitious renewable energy program designed to turn it around from

dependence on foreign sources of energy. The country is now lauded as a

global leader in alternative energy technologies such as wind, biogas, and,

more recently, concentrated solar thermal.Leaders from the Fundación Ideas para el Progreso—the Ideas Foundation for

Progress—have written the following letter debunking the Álvarez report.

Jesús Caldera is the vice president of the IDEAS Foundation and former

minister for public works, and Carlos Mulas-Granados is the executive

director of the IDEAS Foundation and former economic advisor to Prime

Minister Zapatero. Here's what they have to say:In the past weeks, there has been considerable debate in the United States

regarding the job creating potential of the green recovery plans of the new

Administration focusing on the recent experiences of Spain. We were

surprised to learn that one of the principle pieces of evidence used by

opponents of President Obama’s green recovery program is a deeply flawed

report from a little known Spanish research institute funded in part by the

oil industry. We write to you to inform you of the problems of using

information in this report and ask that after learning the facts you

correct the record about green jobs in Spain.Why this attention on Spain? President Obama has, of course, used Spain as

an example of a leading country in renewable energy, and has praised

President Zapatero´s leadership in this field. Today, in the global

economy, domestic political struggles are becoming global, and debates

exist using examples from both sides of the Atlantic. Yet, if international

examples are to be used as the point of comparison in domestic discussions,

let us at least have a fair discussion based on facts and scientific rigor.When policy debates go global and rely on information from a foreign

source, it is often difficult to assess its credibility. By any measure

Professor Calzada‘s report cited by you and the Heritage Foundation is not

reliable or credible. Moreover, Professor Calzada is not an eminent scholar

from a renowned Spanish think tank, as the American press has been led to

believe, but rather a virtually unknown figure who works for a small

research institute with clear links to the energy industry and the extreme

right-wing of the Spanish Conservative Party.Second, any serious debate should be based on an unbiased assessment of

available scientific evidence. The aforementioned report clearly fails this

crucial test. Professor Calzada tries to find a long-term trend, but only

cites employment data for the last year during Spain’s serious recession.

He argues that solar energy has destroyed 15,000 jobs in the last year, but

neglects to cite official figures showing an increase in this job sector of

about 500% in the preceding three years. The loss he refers to is thus

nothing more than a minor downturn in an economy that is troubled by the

recent economic crisis.Professor Calzada also compares subsidized with non-subsidized sectors and

conventional sources of energies with renewable energies. This is a report

which fails to meet even the minimum standards of academic integrity. But

worst of all, Professor Calzada’s report ignores—or hides - the positive

figures in net employment creation of other renewable energy sector