Climate Policy Benefits Californians Any Way You Slice It!

Next 10’s latest annual Green Innovation Index report assessing the state of California’s green economy shows once again that climate policy and a healthy economy go hand in hand.

The report by the independent nonpartisan organization dedicated to educating, engaging, and empowering Californians to improve the state’s future highlights a number of California’s “green” achievements, including the substantial economic benefits that climate policies bring to the state and its residents. The state’s leadership in reducing carbon pollution and increasing energy efficiency – doing more with less energy use – has clearly paid off.

The following examples illustrate how our smart energy policies contribute to the environmental and economic health of our state:

Economic Productivity:

  • California’s economy is more productive than the rest of country, generating nearly twice the amount of economic activity than the rest of the U.S. while using the same amount of energy.  
  • The state’s greenhouse gas emissions per capita continued to decline as our Gross Domestic Product per capita continued to rise.
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Energy use and cost:

  • California residential electricity bills are 25 percent lower than the rest of the country (40% lower than Texas) despite having some of the highest rates per kilowatt hour in the country. (Most Californians don’t even know the rate they pay and care more about the size of the check they write each month to their utility.)
  • Per capita electricity consumption is lower than the national average.
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Clean Tech Investment and Renewable Energy

  • Clean renewable energy like wind and solar contributes almost 15 percent of California’s total electricity generation (and growing) and has increased nearly 30 percent over the past five years (solar installations alone increased by more than 200%).
  • Clean tech investments consistute nearly 20 percent of the total California venture capital investment and California clean tech patents have increased by 100 percent over the past five years.


  • California’s “core clean economy,” which includes businesses that provide products and services that move the state toward a clean energy economy,  has grown at a faster rate than the rest of the economy, increasing nearly 20 percent over the past decade while the rest of the economy expanded less than 5 percent.
  • Numerous California “core clean economy” segments, such as green building and transportation, have increased between four times to 20 times over the past decade.
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These examples are only a few of the great achievements highlighted in the Green Innovation Index and are a tribute to the strong leadership by the state’s decision makers, utilities, clean tech businesses, and other stakeholders. California has long been a leader in energy and climate policies. Now is the time for California to launch off of our strong existing foundation and advance our clean energy policies even further. Doing so will ensure Californians continue to benefit from reduced carbon emissions and cleaner air, lower electricity bills, and greater job opportunities.

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