NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

California's Green Jobs: Where Did They Go?

March 5, 2013

Green jobs were supposed to be the next big thing. On the campaign trail, President Obama promised to create 5 million new green-collar jobs. But where the rest of the nation has rejected all or most of these proposals, California has embraced them all. Unfortunately, it hasn't turned out well, says Conn Carroll in the Washington Examiner.

  • California embraced the cap-and-trade, renewable electricity mandates and high-speed rail proposals that the rest of the country rejected.
  • Since adopting these policies, California now has the highest gas prices in the country at an average of $4.15 per gallon, more than 40 cents above the national average of $3.74.
  • Clean-air rules and environmental regulations that have driven the number of refineries down suggest gas prices will continue to rise.

California's electricity prices are also 39 percent higher than the national average and expected to rise when the state's renewable energy mandate kicks in, which requires 30 percent of electricity be derived from renewable sources. The renewable mandate is estimated to raise prices another 13 percent. One industry official estimates that 59 percent of all renewable energy contracts signed by utility companies paid above-market prices for their renewable energy.

  • While Obama's cap-and-trade proposal failed, California's cap-and-trade punishes businesses and manufacturers, costing them an estimated $1 billion a year.
  • Despite these energy reforms, the Wall Street Journal reports that starting in 2015, Californians will face rolling blackouts due to the loss of conventional power plants and the variable nature of wind and solar energy.
  • And the jobs? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fewer than 2,500 green jobs have been created in California since 2010.
  • To put that in perspective, California has added more than 556,000 total jobs since the end of the recession in 2009.

Source: Conn Carroll, "California in Crisis: Golden State's Green Jobs Bust," Washington Examiner, February 27, 2013.


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