Wednesday, November 14, 2007

California Making Progress on Green Energy, But Lots Left To Do

The policy/advocacy group “Next 10” is issuing its California Green Innovation Index today. The group calls the Index an annual “report card” for California’s green energy efforts.

All in the report shows progress, but notes that, in order to make an impact, more—a lot more—has to be done.

Highlights of the report include:

-- The amount of greenhouse gases produced for every Californian has dropped since 1990. At the same time, California's per-capita gross domestic product - the value of the services and goods produced in the state - has risen. The state's economy, in other words, has been thriving despite the reduction in per-person emissions.

-- California emits less greenhouse gas per person than any other state except Rhode Island. California's economy produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions for every dollar of gross domestic product than Germany, Japan or the United Kingdom.

-- Californians pay less on their monthly electricity bills than do residents of many other states. In 2005, for example, California's average monthly electricity bill was $74, compared with $135 in Texas. Although mild weather plays a part, so do tough energy-efficiency standards adopted in the 1970s for buildings and appliances.

-- Those energy-efficiency standards saved California residents and businesses $56 billion between 1975 and 2003.

-- About 22,000 Californians were directly employed by green-tech companies in 2006. In the same year, California's green-tech businesses soaked up 36 percent of all the money venture capitalists spent on the industry within the United States.

-- About 76 percent of Californians polled as part of the study said they are using energy-efficient compact fluorescent lightbulbs, and 84 percent said they have turned down their heating and air-conditioning systems to save power.

-- Although California's overall demand for petroleum has increased since 1970, the amount consumed per person has fallen.

-- The number of miles Californians drive each year per person peaked in 2002 at 9,068 and dropped to 8,943 miles in 2005, the last year for which information is available. Despite California's reputation as the land of the long commute, people in the rest of the country actually drive more, logging 10,249 miles on the road each year.

California fighting global warming with technology, greenbacks [San Francisco Chronicle]