The business bulwark behind California’s climate progress

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

California, the sixth largest economy in the world, is positioning itself as a bulwark against the rollback of climate progress at the national level, strutting the state’s economic growth as it implemented the toughest environmental policy in the nation.

Think 13 percent job growth; innovations in electric and autonomous vehicles, smart grids, solar farms and 3-D printing; billions in clean tech venture capital investment and a GDP growth rate that doubled the national rate in both 2015 and 2016.

California traversed the Great Recession while implementing the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which launched its cap and trade system and other programs. The act set a goal of reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 — which the state is on track to meet.

The state emerged from the experience with job growth of 13.18 percent between the depths of its recession in February 2010 and this March, adding 1.8 million jobs, according to the Pew Charitable Trust. The California Air Resources Board calculated that total greenhouse gas emissions dropped 9.4 percent in the decade ending 2014. Emissions per capita fell 18 percent even as the state’s GDP grew 28 percent

But back when lawmakers were pushing the Global Warming Solutions Act, its opponents cried it would kill business development. Until businesses claimed the contrary, that is.

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