Just how green is California? Deep green. Very deep green, according to a new California Green Innovation Index compiled by Silicon Valley venture capitalist F. Noel Perry’s non-profit Next 10 foundation.
That might be taken as so much environmental chest-thumping by Golden State partisans, but the report — the product of Next 10 and public-interest consultants Collaborative Economics — offers some persuasive statistics about the role green innovation has played in California’s fortunes.
“The index analyzes key economic and environmental indicators,” writes Perry, “including energy consumption and efficiency, economic growth and carbon emissions, to help us better understand the role green innovation plays in achieving two goals critical to California’s future: 1) reducing the absolute level of the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, and 2) increasing the state’s gross domestic product, which is the basis for our economic vitality ”
The conclusion echoes one repeatedly championed by green tech proponents, from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to Silicon Valley venture capitalists: environmental innovation and economic prosperity go hand in hand.
Here’s some interesting data points from the report:
- “If California’s annual statewide electricity bill was the same fraction of GDP as Texas…Californians would be paying almost $25 billion more for electricity.”
- California holds 44% of United States patents in solar technologies and 37% in wind.
- The Golden State has 36 percent of the U.S.’s green tech venture capital investment.
- “California utility efficiency programs….reduced the need for 24 power plants between 1975 and 2003….The California Energy Commission estimates that building and appliance standards alone have saved residents and businesses $56 billion through 2003 and are projected to save another $23 billion by 2013.”
- “More Californians recycle than vote” (More than 50 percent of Californians recycle.)
- “Per capita CO2 emissions in Texas are double those of California. Per capita emissions levels in California today are slightly lower than they were 15 years ago.”
- California has about 90 percent of the market for energy-efficient dishwasher and about 50 percent of the market for energy-efficient refrigerators and washing machines
Concludes Next 10: “The growing distance between the trend lines of GDP rising and emissions dropping represent the delinking of GHG emissions from economic growth.”