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Job Projections in Energy Efficiency and Climate Action Careers

Job projections that result from California's energy efficiency and climate action strategies.

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This is our future in California: Governor Schwarzenegger signed Executive Order #S-3-05 which called for a 30% reduction below business as usual of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

What does that goal mean in terms of lifestyle changes and jobs for your future?

Projected job creation categories include:

Light Industrial41,300
Other Industrials5,541
Wholesale/Rtail Trade457,475
Vehicle Sales215
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate143,114
Other Services345,313
Public Service481,703

Timelines for policies to reduce fossil fuel generated energy demand

December 2008

In June 2006, the California Air Resources Board (CAR B) released a “Draft Scoping Plan”— the policy roadmap to meet the emissions reduction target of 169 Million Metric Tons of Carbon (MMT CO2) equivalent by 2020 to stabilize at 427 MMT CO2 overall. The CAR B board will take up final adoption of this plan in December 2008.

October 2008

During the months leading up to this decision, a financial crisis of global proportions is unfolding. The state, nation and world are caught in serial market failures sparked by the collapse of the housing credit market, and there is much speculation about the impact of declining capital gains revenue on the state budget.


Over the last 35 years, as a result of landmark energy efficiency policies, California has de-coupled from national trends of electricity demand, reducing its per capita requirements to 40% below the national average.

Household reductions in per capita electricity demand represents over 70% of Gross State Product (GSP), household consumption is the most powerful driver of economic activity in the state, and household expenditure patterns are the leading determinant of state energy use.

Energy efficiency measures have enabled California households to redirect their expenditure toward other goods and services, creating about 1.5 million FTE jobs with a total payroll of over $45 billion, driven by well-documented household energy savings of $56 billion from 1972-2006.

Efficiency measures resulted in slower growth in energy supply chains, including oil, gas, and electric power. For every new job foregone in these sectors, however, more than 50 new jobs have been created across the state’s diverse economy.

Job creation is in less energy intensive services and other categories, further compounding California’s aggregate efficiency improvements and facilitating the economy’s transition to a low carbon future.

The Center for Energy, Resources, and Economic Sustainability (CERES) at the University of California Berkeley conducted scenario analysis for the California Air Resources Board.

Core Findings of Efficiency and Climate Action Jobs

By including the potential for innovation, we find that the proposed package of policies in the state’s Draft Scoping Plan achieves 100 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets as mandated by AB 32 while increasing the Gross State Product (GSP) by about $76 billion, increasing real household incomes by up to $48 billion and creating as many as 403,000 new efficiency and climate action driven jobs.

The economic benefits of energy efficiency innovation have a compounding effect. The first 1.4 percent of annual efficiency gain produced about 181,000 additional jobs, while an additional one percent yielded 268,000 more. It is reasonable to assume that the marginal efficiency gains will be more costly, but they have more intensive economic growth benefits.

Existing energy efficiency programs and proposed state climate policies will continue the structural shift in California’s economy from carbon intensive industries to more job intensive industries. While job growth continues to be positive in the carbon fuel supply chain, it is less than it would be without implementation of these policies.

Looking ahead, California’s ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as mandated by the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) puts the state on a more stable economic path by encouraging even greater investment in energy saving innovation.

The current financial crisis reminds us of the importance of responsible risk management. The results of this study remind us that, in addition to energy price vulnerability and climate damage, the risks of excessive energy dependence include lower long-term economic growth. A lower carbon future for California is a more prosperous and sustainable future.

Energy Efficiency, Innovation
and Job Creation in California
Executive Summary
October 2008
by David Roland-Holst, UC berkeley

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