Amid concerns about the economic and employment impacts of California's ambitious climate policies, CLEE and its research partners are pleased to release today the first comprehensive, academic study of the costs and benefits of these policies on the San Joaquin Valley. The bottom line: we found a total economic benefit of $13.4 billion in the Valley including the creation of tens of thousands of jobs.

Our report, The Economic Impacts of California's Major Climate Programs on the San Joaquin Valley , addresses compliance and investment costs as well as the benefits across the region. A partnership with UC Berkeley's Donald Vial Center on Employment in the Green Economy, and working with the nonpartisan nonprofit Next 10, we find that the economic benefits of California's climate programs greatly exceed costs.
"This report shows that even in one of the most disadvantaged regions of the state and nation, California's existing climate policies can provide net economic benefits," said Ethan Elkind, a co-author for the report. We looked at three key California climate and clean energy policies: 1) cap and trade, 2) the renewables portfolio standard (RPS), and 3) energy efficiency programs.

Cap and Trade

We calculated a potential negative impact on 400 jobs due to compliance from 2013 to 2015, but found that on a net basis, more than 700 jobs were created directly, and more than 1,600 supporting service and industry jobs were created indirectly. In the same period, state and local tax revenues received a $4.7 million boost as a result of cap and trade.

Renewables Portfolio Standard

The report found that from 2002 to 2015, renewable programs created about 31,000 direct jobs in the San Joaquin Valley -- for people building and operating renewable-energy facilities, for example -- and created another 57,000 indirect and induced jobs for suppliers, supporting businesses and the like, for a total of 88,000 jobs.
Energy Efficiency Programs

Energy efficiency programs in the San Joaquin Valley are the most cost-effective in the state, according to our analysis. The report suggests that these programs are cost-efficient vehicles for families and businesses in the Valley to save money and have provided net economic benefits of $248 million since 2010. 
Next Steps

In a time when climate policies are often seen only in terms of their economic costs, this report brings to the forefront the positive long-term impact that climate programs can have, even in lower-income communities. California can be a national model in showing that investment in climate and energy programs provides a green economic boost and creates jobs.

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The Center for Law, Energy and the Environment (CLEE) channels the creativity and expertise of the Berkeley community into pragmatic policy solutions to critical environmental and energy issues.  


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