California eyes going ‘green’ despite slump
Although a new climate plan would boost utility bills, some predict it will stimulate the economy.
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Moreover, CARB hopes the plan will create new green jobs – a category estimated to grow by 100,000 or more by 2020. “California’s plan will drive innovation, create thousands of new jobs, and provide a wealth of opportunities for California to export technology and help fight global warming around the world,” said Ms. Nichols.Skip to next paragraph
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An economic analysis recently released by the board said implementing the climate law would increase economic production by $27 billion, overall gross state product by $4 billion, overall personal income by $14 billion, and per capita income by $200.
“This is more than a pollution reduction plan, it’s an economic stimulus plan,” says Audrey Chang, climate program director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It’s more important than ever during these uncertain times to make investments in clean energy solutions that will stimulate innovation, new businesses and job creation.”
A draft of the Scoping Plan was released in June, and the final one takes into account additional analysis and public input that the Board has received since then – over 40,000 dispatches, “everything from single postcards to 55-page dense analyses,” says Ms. Nichols. The plan is slated to go before the Board for approval at its December meeting.
For some, the Scoping Plan has other flaws. Josh Margolis, joint CEO of CantorCO2e, a financial services company focused on energy and development, is critical of the plan’s cap-and-trade program. Cap-and-trade is a system designed to set limits on emissions and allow companies to trade credits based on the amount they emit. The CARB plans to auction some of these credits and eventually maybe all of them, instead of giving them away, and use the fees generated and use the fees generated to implement new emission-reduction programs.
The program “misses the opportunities that we have enjoyed with other successful cap-and-trade programs like the acid rain and lead phase down programs,” says Margolis. “The focus on auction-generated fees, the transfer of resources out of the hands of the sources and into the government’s hands, is troublesome.”
Nichols admits that much still needs to be ironed out before December. But she hopes California’s experience can become a model for national policy.
California’s climate change law “has already prompted several other states to put mandatory caps on global-warming pollution. Now California’s robust Scoping plan can be a model and a catalyst for national action,” says Derek Walker, director of the California Climate Initiative at Environmental Defense Fund, a co-sponsor of the climate law.