California Proves Reducing Emissions Can Grow the Economy
“The California experience demonstrates that reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can be achieved while also growing the economy,” declares a study by Study by Next 10, nonpartisan organization. California enacted the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) in 2006 which sets the target of reducing GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Titled 2010 California Clean Energy Index, the study reports that during the first half of 2010 California attracted 40 percent of global clean tech venture capital, totaling over $11.6 billion. For every dollar of GDP generated in 2008, California’s economy needed 32 percent less carbon-per dollar than it did in 1990.
California leads the nation in clean tech patents, 39 percent of which are for solar energy patents, and 20 percent for advanced battery technology patents. Clean tech manufacturing employment increased by 19 percent from 1995 to 2008, but total manufacturing employment decreased by four percent.
California residents “actually pay less overall for electricity due to our state’s energy efficiency standards,” the study says. California manufacturers spend less on electricity. New electricity-intensive businesses “significantly outnumber closings and exits,” with 82,000 new businesses in electricity-intensive industries opened.
Despite popular opinion about California’s unfriendly business climate, more businesses are starting up than closing or leaving. California experiences a net gain of about 58,500 new businesses every year on average.
The report concludes “opportunities for increased competitiveness and greater savings have emerged for California’s businesses as they respond to the impacts of the changing business climate.”
A ballot initiative, Proposition 23, would suspend AB 32 until the unemployment rate stays at 5.5 percent for a year. As Jeff Anderson, executive director of the Clean Economy Network, says, the study “reinforces the point that clean tech is a bright spot in California’s otherwise depressed economy.” Anderson added, “Passing Prop 23 would put all of these news jobs and businesses in jeopardy. To maintain California’s leadership, we must vote No on Prop 23.”