California’s ambitious plans for addressing the problem of climate change supported by aggressive policies in recent years have made the state one of the global leaders in a commitment to efficiency and renewable energy. Substantial economic progress accompanied the state’s comprehensive environmental efforts, with an emphasis on carbon reduction. According to the latest International Monetary Fund data, the Californian market surpassed France’s ranking as the sixth largest economy in the world last year. The state was ranked eighth only two years before, so the pace of growth has been remarkable.
The connection between the strong economic performance and outstanding green initiatives of the United States’ most populous state cannot be denied. Advocating for sustainability and green technologies as vital for the future of California’s economy was one of the most-emphasized points of the California Energy Commission’s 2013 Integrated Energy Policy Report. California already achieved the goals stated by the state’s authorities just a few years ago, and it does not intend to slow down. Instead, the state aims to reinforce its green leadership using a comprehensive framework of legislation supported by solid action to meet bold new targets.
Comprehensive advocacy for sustainable growth
California’s leading of the greening trend has solid roots in the state’s regulations. While many across the globe talk about the environment, Californian authorities assume a proactive approach with legislative acts such as the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015. On top of the legislation, the state’s government works hand in hand with utility companies with programs like the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) aimed at increasing the percentage of renewable energy from different sources in the state’s electricity mix to 50% by 2030. These efforts set a good example that is followed by Californian enterprises, which benefit from implementing energy-efficient solutions encouraged by the state. This in turn increases their market value and makes a positive contribution to their perception by potential customers. This top-down approach from the state’s government to the average Californian consumer serves as a solid foundation for California’s greening success.
California’s progress towards a cleaner energy future
The state does not intend to slow down in its effort towards a greener future. On top of the RPS program mentioned above, some bold targets have been set. In September 2016, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 32, putting into law a statewide goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. Work on zero-emission vehicles is in progress. The state also aims to install 12,000 MW of renewable distributed generation and bring coal-fired energy imports to zero by the end of 2025.
Real estate reflects green leadership
According to a recent UNEP report, buildings account for approximately 40% of worldwide energy consumption and produce 21% of all carbon emissions. While real estate in many regions across the US has yet to address these numbers, green building has long been part of California’s wide range of aggressive energy policies. In this respect, the state once again sets an example for the market to follow, with over 50 state-owned LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings. Across California, there are more than 3,500 LEED-certified green buildings, and the state’s top-down approach once again proves that it works all the way to the bottom.
According to The Huffington Post, the green label continues to sell at increasingly high prices, with people paying on average 9% more for environmentally sustainable houses. The value of a home in California is reported to have gone up by an average of $34,800, and the reasons for this trend cannot be brought down solely by the increasing cost of keeping homes cool in the hot climate. The prices of green homes are on the rise because of the increasing awareness of the green ideology across the state.
California stands at the forefront of energy efficiency not only in the USA but also worldwide, and a large portion of this success can be attributed to the state’s regulatory lead. Nevertheless, California’s green success would not be possible without the cooperation of utility companies and businesses. A resultant of these combined comprehensive efforts remarkably contributes to the increase of the quality of life of Californian citizens and is an exemplary case of proactive approach towards environmental protection.