The concept of green jobs has increasingly been used as a tool to justify environmental policies more broadly, and the state’s expanding program of climate change regulation specifically. In so doing, both proponents and the agencies now rely heavily on these—often unsubstantiated—job claims as purported indications that regulations will proceed cost-free or at worst under costs that are absorbable and balanced by a presumed increase in jobs.
In February 2015, the Center completed a review of the many competing estimates of green jobs creation in California, entitled California Green Jobs: A Review of Current Estimates. As stated in that review, the policy interest in green jobs is not new to California.
The policy interest in Green Jobs is not new to California. For at least 4 decades, the growing body of regulation in our state continues to be justified in part for its potential to spark technology innovations and entrepreneurship that in turn lead to creation of new industries to offset in whole or in part the cost of those rules on both consumers and businesses. The concept behind this focus is that through broader adoption of California rules, economies of scale eventually will be achieved and thereby lower overall costs for all. This policy concept runs through California’s current climate change and energy policies just as it did earlier in the 1970s when the state first attempted to regulate its way to a broader reliance on alternative energies.