To anyone who believes environmental regulation is poison for profits, California must be infuriating. The state’s pollution policies rarely wilt its perennially blooming economy. For the past nine years, a Golden State-centric think tank Next 10 has been releasing its California Green Innovation Index. The results this year show a continuing trend: For two and a half decades, California’s GDP and population have continued to rise, while per capita carbon dioxide emissions have stayed flat. But California isn't done yet. It has two major upcoming goals: reducing emission to to 1990 levels by 2020, and 40 percent below that a decade later. So while California has continued to grow during phase one of its environmental overhaul, it's still a question whether its long-term green ambitions will turn its economy as chilly as a San Francisco summer.
With light-truck sales exceeding passenger car transactions for the first time in recent history, California’s new-car sales are again expected to exceed 2 million vehicles in 2017, according to the Sacramento-based California New Car Dealers Association. CNCDA released its second-quarter 2017 report Tuesday, showing 1.026 million new-car sales in the January-to-June period, down 2 percent year over year. That slight decline was no surprise, as numerous experts have been saying that California’s red-hot auto sales market will slow down throughout 2017. Even so, CNCDA projected 2.05 million new-vehicle sales statewide by the conclusion of this year.
California’s high housing costs are driving poor and middle income people out of their housing like never before. While some are fleeing coastal areas for cheaper living inland, others are leaving the state altogether.
Homelessness is on the rise. California is home to 12 percent of the U.S. population, but 22 percent of its homeless people. Cities that have seen dramatic rent increases, such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, attribute their spikes in homelessness directly to a state housing shortage that has led to an unprecedented affordability crisis.
Housing experts trace the problem back to the 1970s. Backlash began to arise – in coastal communities, in particular – from neighbors who opposed new housing in their neighborhoods.
A controversial California climate program got a shot of good news this month when a study suggested it is successfully reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and providing other environmental benefits on the side. The study, conducted by a trio of Stanford University researchers, concerns a California “carbon offset” program, which allows companies to pay to preserve carbon-storing forests instead of reducing their own emissions. According to the researchers’ findings, that program is protecting imperiled forests and preventing the carbon they store from being released into the atmosphere.
Half the state’s households struggle to afford the roof over their heads. Homeownership—once a staple of the California dream—is at its lowest rate since World War II. Nearly 70 percent of poor Californians see the majority of their paychecks go immediately to escalating rents.
This month, state lawmakers are debating a long-delayed housing package. Here’s what you need to know about one of California’s most vexing issues.