California households, economy reap benefits of energy efficiency drive

castateseal.jpg Energy efficiency measures adopted over the last 35 years have enabled California households to save $45 billion on their electricity bills and redirect spending toward other goods and services resulting in the creation of some 1.5 million jobs with a total payroll of $45 billion, according to “Energy Efficiency, Innovation and Job Creation in California,” a research study released today authored by David Roland-Holst of the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Energy, Resources and Economic Sustainability, or CERES.
De-coupling from a national trend, California’s adoption of landmark energy efficiency policies between 1972 and 2006 has led to per capita electrical power requirements 40% below the national average. Representing more than 70% of gross state product (GSP), household consumption is the most powerful of the Golden State’s economic drivers, Roland-Holst notes, while household expenditures are the primary determinant of state energy use.
Looking ahead towards building upon and amplifying these gains, Roland-Holst finds that by factoring in innovation, the package of policies proposed in the state’s climate change/global warming action Draft Scoping Plan, due up for final review by the California Air Resources Board in December, achieves 100 percent of the greenhouse gas emission targets mandated by AB 32 while increasing Gross State Product by some $76 billion. Real household incomes would increase by as much as $48 billion and as many as 403,000 new energy efficiency and climate action related jobs would be created.
Released in June 2006, the California Air Resources Board’s Draft Scoping Plan is a policy roadmap crafted to meet the emissions reduction targets of AB 32, which calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2020. That translates to eliminating 169 million metric tons of carbon equivalent by 2020 and stabilizing at 427 mmtCO2 overall.
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