For good (Apple) and bad (Lindsay Lohan), California is a global pacesetter. That’s particularly true when it comes to environmental policy and efforts to forge a sustainable economy. A report released this week by Next 10, a San Francisco-based non-profit, charts California’s progress in everything from securing clean tech patents to slashing carbon emissions.
Next 10’s Green Innovation Index found that California is decarbonizing its economy even as GDP per capita rises, thanks in part to strict consumer and industrial energy efficiency standards and a 2006 law that requires greenhouse gas emissions to fall to 1990 levels by 2020. California’s emissions per dollar of GDP have fallen 29% since 1990, according to the report. Emissions per capita, shown in the chart below, have fallen substantially too.
Here’s how California’s carbon economy compares with other states and the US. New York is the only state that’s greener, since many of its residents don’t have cars and live in tiny spaces.
Technology innovators call California home and by a wide margin the state holds the most clean tech patents.
In 2012, California captured 40% of the world’s venture capital invested in clean technology.
The state has set a mandate to obtain a third of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. As of 2011, it leads the nation in renewable energy.