UC Berkeley News
Press Release

UC Berkeley Press Release

New report says climate action promotes economic growth in the state

– A team of two dozen prominent experts led by professors from the University of California, Berkeley, released a new report today (Monday, Jan. 23) on the economic implications of meeting global warming emissions reduction targets established by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005.

The governor's goals include reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 2000 levels by the year 2010, and to 1990 levels by 2020.

"Managing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in California," the first report in a series of economic and technology assessments, finds that just eight policy strategies can take California halfway to the governor's 2020 targets, while increasing the Gross State Product by approximately $60 billion and creating more than 20,000 new jobs.

"Our study demonstrates that taking action to reduce global warming emissions in California is good for the California economy," said Michael Hanemann, UC Berkeley professor of agricultural and resource economics and co-author of the report. "Our research indicates that not only does climate action pay, but early climate action pays more."

The report will be presented to the California Climate Action Team, a state task force established by Schwarzenegger, during public hearings today. It corroborates the state's recent findings that the governor's targets can be achieved with net economic benefits. Using the Berkeley Energy and Resources model, a state-of-the-art, economy-wide forecasting tool, the team analyzed eight strategies in detail, tracing complex market interactions across key elements of the California economy. The team also evaluated the importance of technological innovation and market-based incentives in meeting the governor's goals.

"Our model is designed to capture the economy-wide implications of policies," said David Roland-Holst, UC Berkeley adjunct professor of agricultural and resource economics and report co-author. "The climate action strategies benefit California economically because innovation and efficiency save money for California consumers, who re-direct their spending in ways that stimulate in-state job growth."

The report also analyzed the economic impacts of taking the lead in adopting policies to reduce GHG emissions. It concludes that "just as Silicon Valley gained economically from being the leader in the Internet revolution, so, too, will California gain an economic advantage from being the leader in the new technologies and the new industries that will come into existence worldwide around the common goal of reducing GHG emissions."

"Our analysis reveals the power and promise of taking early initiative," concluded Alex Farrell, assistant professor at UC Berkeley's Energy and Resources Group and co-author of the report. "By acting sooner, California benefits more quickly from faster economic growth and improves its competitive position in a global market increasingly focused on climate action."

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