Green Economy

Published on April 30th, 2012 | by Stephen Lacey


Americans for Prosperity Putting $6.1 Million on Ad to Attack Green Jobs

April 30th, 2012 by  

This post was originally published on Climate Progress and has been reposted with permission.

by Stephen Lacey and Rebecca Leber 

After pouring more than $8.4 million into bogus energy attack ads since November, the oil industry front group Americans For Prosperity announced yet another major ad buy of $6.1 million in eight states.

The latest ad is based on a set of mistruths about green jobs that have been widely debunked.

In the ad, AFP explains that “billions of taxpayer dollars spent on green energy went to jobs in foreign countries,” and uses four examples that supposedly prove that Obama’s clean energy stimulus created foreign jobs instead of domestic ones.

All four examples are either mostly or completely false.

1. The ad claims that $1.2 billion is being used to create solar jobs in Mexico. This point was completely made up by a random conservative blogger and has been repeatedly called out as a lie. This $1.2 billion loan guarantee was issued for a large, first-of-its-kind solar plant in California being developed by NRG. However, the blogger falsely wrote that the money was being used to create manufacturing jobs in Mexico.

In reality, the jobs created in Mexico had absolutely nothing to do with the loan guarantee. The only connection to Mexico was that some of the solar panels would be coming from a manufacturing plant located there. And even though the source of the panels had nothing to do with the decision to issue the loan guarantee, the company providing the panels, SunPower, explained that most of the panels were coming from America anyway.

2. The ad claims that a loan guarantee for an electric vehicle manufacturer went to jobs in Finland. This is also a made up story pushed by Fox News and conservative bloggers. In fact, all of the money used through the loan guarantee went toward building a U.S. manufacturing facility.

There were some jobs created in Finland during final assembly of the vehicles, but that was announced up front in 2009 when the loan guarantee was issued. According to the Department of Energy, all of the money set aside for Fisker’s next-generation vehicle manufacturing was issued for American operations.

3. The ad claims that tens of millions of dollars went toward building traffic lights in China. This is another murky claim that doesn’t hold up. In 2010, because of the lack of domestic manufacturing, the Department of Energy allowed some LED lighting technologies for stimulus projects to be sourced from overseas companies:

Federal agencies may waive the “buy American” requirement if they determine that a needed item is not available from domestic sources in sufficient quantities, that it would inconsistent with the public interest to comply, or that the cost is unreasonable.

The agency says that all of the investments made for lighting projects followed the Buy America requirements established in the stimulus package. To make the spin worse, the ad implies that the stimulus money went to install traffic lights within China. That is totally false.

4. The ad claims that $2.3 billion in clean energy stimulus incentives went to overseas firms. This figure is based on a 2010 Washington Times piece borrowing from an investigative storyfrom American University that found stimulus dollars going to foreign companies developing projects within the U.S. The piece raised questions about how many jobs were being created overseas to build the technologies being deployed in the U.S.

After publishing that piece, investigative reporter Russ Choma told that the numbers showed more jobs being created in the U.S.:

It should be noted there were no farms that we could find that used turbines entirely built in China, so we can’t say for sure how much of this stimulus money went to create jobs in China. Some money definitely did, but it is safe to say more money went to creating jobs in the U.S. and Europe.

This latest ad brings the total amount spent by pro-fossil fuel groups to more than $24 million in just the first few months of 2012, based on a ThinkProgress analysis.

Jobs in green goods and services accounted for 3.1 million jobs in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, a study found that every dollar put into clean energy creates three-times as many jobs as investing in fossil fuels.

Watch AFP’s ad:

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

is an editor at Greentech Media. Formerly, he was a reporter/blogger for Climate Progress, where he wrote about clean energy policy, technologies, and finance. Before joining CP, he was an editor/producer with He received his B.A. in journalism from Franklin Pierce University.

  • Kirk

    Can you just imagine for a second, how many green energy jobs would have been created if the fourteen and a half million dollars ($14,500,000.00) that was spent on false adds was used to fund green energy projects?
    Solar Energy will dominate the market no matter what the big oil companies do, they are very aware of the danger they are in and will stop at nothing to try to prevent it…they will fail and have wasted many dollars.
    Someone once said to me…”There are about 35 to 40 years of known oil reserves on the planet, there are about 55 to 70 years of known coal reserves on the planet and there are 365,000,000,000,000 years of known solar energy, I will be placing my bet on solar energy!” Where will you be placing your bet?

  • Midimidget

    Keep government out of green industry

  • windy2

    Oils company fabrications aside, can a green jobs economy be sustained without government subsidies. Many of the countries that served as the models for successful green jobs are now in turmoil. Spain spent huge sums of government money promoting green jobs growth. Spain hit a new record for unemployment at 24.4%. Why didn’t green jobs succeed in improving Spain’s economy?

    In Germany the green jobs sectors are falling on terrible times.,1518,830188,00.html

    Surely you can’t believe that green jobs can be a panacea to the USA’s economic problems. Maybe big oil is lying in their ads but there is plenty of facts based on green jobs history in other countries that indicate that they have not panned out to deliver the economic prosperity that was advertised.

    Another point to consider can be found in an excellent article by Kevin Drum at Mother Jones, explaining how China has control of 97% of rare earth elements available to green and high tech industries. From an energy security standpoint, why would the USA want to become dependent on Chinese REEs for the solar cells, superconductor magnets and other components needed for green energy? The fact that China has banned REEs from being exported to the US has led several US manufacturers to open up plants in China in order to produce products that are dependent on REEs. We are fighting this in court but I see no upside even if we succeed in court.

    • Ross

      Spain was hit by a housing bubble and then the global recession.

      No one is claiming green jobs are a panacea so don’t set up straw men to attack.

  • rkt9

    You don’t expect the tyrannical oil barons to give up without a viscious fight do you? Where might these attack ads be placed, on their own media outlets, mainstream Radio and TV, which ever few of us watch and listen to. These attack ads are nothing more than a death gurgle, and final gasp.

    • “You don’t expect the tyrannical oil barons to give up without a viscious fight do you?”

      Of course not. 😀

      ” These attack ads are nothing more than a death gurgle, and final gasp. ”
      I hope so.

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