*UPDATE* Under Scrutiny, Stanford Professor Deletes Data Showing Job Loss from Renewables Transition
UPDATE (1:40pm CT, 1/13/2016): Dr. Mark Jacobson has admitted to deleting the data tables showing a net loss of long-term jobs.
— Mark Z. Jacobson (@mzjacobson) January 13, 2016
Dr. Jacobson claims that the data cited by Energy In Depth were “not real,” but rather just “test” numbers that were not associated with the published study. That convenient explanation is not found in the original worksheet that housed the net long-term job loss numbers, nor is it listed on Dr. Jacobson’s website. However, a press release from Stanford University last summer, which announced the publication of Dr. Jacobson’s study, encouraged visitors to “visit Jacobson’s website and The Solutions Project” for more information.
That same website included the data that Energy In Depth cited.
—Original post, January 13, 2016—
A Stanford professor who claims a transition to 100 percent renewables would be a major job creator has scrubbed his website of data showing significant long-term job losses from such a plan, according to a new review by Energy In Depth. Online records show that the professor, Dr. Mark Jacobson, edited his documents just hours after an Energy In Depth report revealed how the transition to 100 percent renewables would cause a net loss of more than 1.2 million long-term jobs, based on data pulled directly from Dr. Jacobson’s website.
The decision to alter his own data could raise additional questions about Dr. Jacobson’s plan for a 100 percent renewables energy system, a plan that has already faced significant criticism from the scientific and environmental communities.
On his website, Dr. Jacobson houses a number of supporting documents for his research on a 100 percent renewables transition, including a Microsoft Excel file that shows everything from assumptions about levelized costs of electricity to jobs estimates and energy demand projections. In Dr. Jacobson’s original spreadsheet, a tab entitled “Total Job Loss” included a two-column, highlighted chart describing “Net Long Term Jobs” and “Net Total Jobs.” The tables indicated a negative 1,284,030 net long term jobs, but a positive 4,031,629 net total jobs. As Energy In Depth observed last week, Jacobson’s data show a net job gain because “Construction” jobs created from a transition to 100 percent renewables would exceed the number of “Long Term Jobs” lost. Many environmental activists who have promoted Jacobson’s plan have spent years denigrating construction work as being inferior to what they called “real jobs.”
But now the spreadsheet on Dr. Jacobson’s website no longer shows a loss of “Net Long Term Jobs.” In fact, the highlighted column has been deleted from the document entirely.
According to the document’s properties, it was last modified at 10:05pm on January 5, 2016, several hours after Energy In Depth’s report was published. It also came after Dr. Jacobson accused Energy In Depth of lying about what his data tables show.
— Mark Z. Jacobson (@mzjacobson) January 5, 2016
The previous version of the spreadsheet, a copy of which Energy In Depth saved prior to Dr. Jacobson’s updates on January 5th, shows the last time it was modified was on May 18, 2015. Typically, Excel spreadsheets will open to the last modified tab before it was saved. The new version on Dr. Jacobson’s website now opens directly to the Total Job Loss tab.
Prior to editing his data tables, Dr. Jacobson claimed Energy In Depth “faked data” to show the long-term job loss, even though that information was pulled directly from his document. He later issued a veiled threat that he was “going to be very clear publicly that you have intentionally falsified data, Mr. Everly [sic],” before declaring “conversation over” and imposing a user block on Twitter. Over the next several days, after he had edited the document, Dr. Jacobson published a series of progressively angrier tweets, including a particularly wild comparison of Energy In Depth to “tobacco.”
In an exclusive interview with the left-wing website Media Matters, Jacobson once again accused Energy In Depth of “falsifying data,” though he made no mention of editing those data after the EID report was published.
“Whereas I have experienced cases where people didn’t like our results because they affected their energy of choice, this is the first time I’ve come across someone (Everley) actually falsifying data from our study then refusing to correct it when informed of the error.” (emphasis added)
Earlier this week, Dr. Jacobson granted a separate interview to the left-wing blog Daily Kos, which gave him a forum to respond to Energy In Depth’s report. But Dr. Jacobson likely did not anticipate another Daily Kos blogger criticizing his 100 percent renewables plan as impractical. In a comment posted to the article including Dr. Jacobson’s interview, an environmental blogger said that “no electric utility is ever going to adopt Jacobson’s plan” because, among other things, the “wind power component of Jacobson’s plan cannot be relied upon for reliable electric power generation and supply.”