California’s experience should put to rest any remaining concerns that clean energy and a strong economy are mutually exclusive. Since the state adopted the strongest climate policies in the American union, it has attracted US$45.5 billion in clean energy investment and created a half-million jobs in the sector.
“More than 519,000 Californians work in the clean energy sector,” the national, nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) finds in an analysis of U.S. Labor Bureau and Department of Energy data, alongside what it describes as “a comprehensive survey of thousands of businesses across California.” (Disclosure: The Energy Mix curator Mitchell Beer is a member of E2.)
The state’s aggressive “climate policies, including cap-and-trade, have driven $45.5 billion in clean economy investments in the state, while half of the $1.2 billion [in spending] implemented via California’s cap-and-trade program benefits disadvantaged communities.” The state and its governor, Jerry Brown, have emerged as leaders for American climate action in spite of the Trump Administration’s rejection of both the Paris agreement and the settled climate science that drives it.
“We’ve shown that climate policies strengthen our communities—both environmentally and economically,” asserted California State Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, who represents portions of the Imperial and Coachella valleys near Palm Springs.