Delegates from around the world are traveling to San Francisco for this week’s Global Climate Summit, aiming to provide “confidence to governments to ‘step up’ and trigger [the] next level of ambition” in cutting carbon emissions. But they’ll inevitably ask: How do these stronger emissions reduction commitments impact economic growth?
Compared to other places, like Texas – known for its oil and gas production – California’s economy is performing better on most measures, showing that it is entirely possible to pair steep emission reductions with vibrant growth.
California has established some of the world’s most ambitious carbon emission reduction targets, and is achieving them faster and at lower cost than expected. The state hit its 2020 target four years early, while its economy grew much faster any other state and the U.S. economy as a whole – California’s economy climbed from 10th largest in the world in 2012 to 5thlargest today.
This economic growth stands in stark contrast to some of the inflammatory predictions lobbed at the state’s policymakers when the state was considering Assembly Bill 32 (AB 32), California’s first statewide commitment to reducing emissions. Adopted on a bipartisan basis with leadership from Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the law requires emissions to fall back to 1990 levels by 2020.
One commentator opined gasoline prices that reaching those emission reductions would cause the price of gasoline to reach “$7.15 to $11.57 a gallon” but prices are less than half that level today. Professors at California State University forecast employment losses of at least 1.1 million jobs by 2020, representing six percent of the current workforce, but California is enjoying an unprecedented jobs boom. Unemployment was at a record low 4.2% in July for the fourth straight month in the most recent data released August 17th.
An economic boom amidst ambitious climate action
From 2011-2017, California’s economy grew almost twice as fast as the rest of the nation, expanding 24% compared to 13% on average for the 49 other states, and statewide job growth increased 16% compared to 10% for the rest of the nation, over the same period.
Content Source: Forbes