A common misperception is that environmental policies and programs hurt job creation and economic growth. To investigate these claims as they relate to California’s pioneering climate policies, CLEE and the UC Berkeley Labor Center, with support from Next 10, examined available data to assess how California’s major climate programs have impacted the state’s most disadvantaged regions: the San Joaquin Valley and Inland Empire to date. We also projected future impacts through 2030 based on current policies. Our studies primarily focused on three key California climate and clean energy policies: cap and trade, the renewables portfolio standard, and energy efficiency programs. So far the evidence is encouraging, but further policy reforms may be necessary to keep these impacts positive through 2030.
Following the state legislature’s landmark approval extending California’s cap-and-trade program through 2030 by a supermajority vote, CLEE and our research partners completed the first comprehensive, academic study of the economic effects of existing climate and clean energy policies in Southern California’s Inland Empire. The study estimated a net benefit of $9.1 billion in direct economic activity and a net gain of 41,000 jobs in the region. The study focused on San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, which both face unique economic and air-quality challenges.
Amid concerns about the economic and employment impacts of California’s ambitious climate policies, CLEE and our research partners have conducted the first comprehensive, academic study of the costs and benefits of these policies on the San Joaquin Valley. We found a total economic benefit of $13.4 billion in the Valley including the creation of tens of thousands of jobs. We focused on the eight-county Valley region due to its bellwether status and significant economic and environmental challenges. Our study addresses compliance and investment costs as well as benefits across the region.