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California Green Innovation Index for Green Jobs and Economic Growth

Green innovation in California has centered on energy conservation since the 1970s -- and is developing a new green economy based on increasing innovation to meet 2020 goals.

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Challenge: Reduce our carbon footprint!
Solution: Innovate more!

Renewable energy and conservation: "This is the breakout growth sector of the next generation," said David Roland-Holst, a professor of agriculture and resource economics at UC Berkeley. "We cannot afford to miss this market opportunity."

The California Green Innovation Index tracks economic and environmental progress to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate global warming. The Index demonstrates the essential role of innovation in reducing the absolute level of greenhouse gases contributing to global warming while enhancing economic vitality. Next 10 is focused on innovation and the intersection between the economy, the environment, and quality of life issues. They create tools and provide information about the critical issues affecting California and empowering change.

Key Themes of Green Innovation

An Efficient Environment: In relative terms, California is more energy efficient and emits fewer greenhouse gases than the United States as a whole, Japan, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. These efficiency gains are a result of the first wave of green innovation, which began in the 1970s and has transformed California into a world leader in energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

Innovation Yields Savings and Spurs Growth: The first wave of green innovation spurred California's economic growth and realized gains in energy efficiency, saving residents and businesses billions of dollars.

Increasing Investment: Investments indicate California is poised to ride a second wave of green innovation based on both continuing improvements in energy efficiency and the creation and adoption of clean energy technologies.

In 2006, California firms attracted 36% of total venture capital investment in energy technology and Californians registered an increasing share of U.S. patents for solar, wind and battery technology. Meanwhile, green jobs grew by nearly 50% over the past decade.

The Challenge of Population Growth: Fuel and electricity consumption and greenhouse gas emissions are expected to increase as California's population continues to rise, so the next wave of innovation must be larger, faster and more powerful than the last to meet the mandate of the Global Warming Solutions Act.

A Positive Outlook: Californians are concerned about global warming yet optimistic about the role green innovation can play in solving the problem can create jobs and expand prosperity.

10 Main Findings for California's Green Innovation

California’s first wave of green innovation, resulting from increasing energy efficiency since the 1970s, yielded significant economic and environmental benefits. This progress, coupled with the widespread recognition among Californians that global warming is a critical challenge that can be addressed by businesses, policymakers and citizens alike.

The First Wave of Green Innovation

1. California has become a world leader in addressing global warming.

2. California has one of the lowest per capita GHG emissions and highest growth domestic products in the nation.

3. California is more energy efficient than the nation and other comparable states resulting in significant savings to consumers. (animated)

4. California utility programs and efficiency standards yield major savings and reduced the need to build additional power plants.

Tracking Signs of the Next Wave of Green Innovation

5. Californians are at the forefront of recognizing that global warming is a critical challenge that can be addressed by citizens and businesses as well as government.

6. Widespread innovation in the adoption of green products and services is already happening in California.

7. Innovation in the creation of new green products and services is also increasing in California.

The Challenge and Prospects for the Future

8. California needs to rapidly increase its pace of change through breakthroughs in energy efficiency and the adoption of clean energy.

9. While California is currently a leader in green innovation, it needs to continue to invest in research and commercialization that promotes the creation and adoption of clean energy.

10. California is taking steps to achieve the goals of AB 32 and the public supports taking action to address global warming.

The California Green Innovation Index was commissioned by Next 10, an independent, nonpartisan organization employing expert research to educate and engage California stakeholders on issues important to the state's future. Next 10 is F. Noel Perry, Sarah Henry, Marcia Perry, and Rishell Jordan.

The California Green Innovation Index 2007 Inaugural Issue was prepared by Doug Henton, John Melville, Tracey Grose, Bridget Gibbons and Gabrielle Maor of Collaborative Economics.

(DOWNLOAD THE REPORT) or read the report online.

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Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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