10/14/2019

California an Economic Model? Not Quite

A significant sub-theme of Gov. Jerry Brown’s climate change conference in San Francisco this month was that California is a living model of how a nation-state can go green while experiencing economic prosperity.

Some Californians take it a step further, contending that going green is itself an economic spur.

Certainly California’s current economy is, at least superficially, booming.

The state’s official unemployment rate is 4.2 percent, a record-low level, reflecting tens of thousands of new jobs being added each month – nearly 50,000 in July alone, according to the most recent employment report.

California’s total economic output is more than $2.5 trillion a year, which would place it fifth in the world were it a nation.

However, the claims that California is a model of green prosperity are somewhat overblown.

California is prospering these days mostly because the nation as a whole is experiencing a record-long economic expansion. The steps it has taken so far to reduce its carbon footprint have been relatively mild, so their economic impact, positive or negative, has been relatively scant.

View Article