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Articles by Emma Foehringer Merchant

Midwesterner out west, hardware store superfan, rhubarb representative

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California Governor Jerry Brown signs the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015 in Los Angeles.

The California economy is thriving, according to a new report released Monday — and that’s despite the state instituting relatively restrictive environmental rules.

According to the assessment, after the passage of California’s trademark — and controversial — 2006 cap-and-trade law, statewide per capita emissions fell by 12 percent. For every fossil fuel job in the state, California has 8.5 in solar and wind energy. (Compare that to the 2.5-to-1 ratio for the nation, overall.) Most notably, the report finds the state’s per-capita GDP grew by almost double the national average since cap-and-trade passed. In fact, the state is now the most energy-productive economy in the world — meaning it uses the least amount of energy to gain each dollar of GDP.

“Being a leader environmentally is something the state has done for half a century, and the state continues to prosper,” says Charles Kolstad, a Stanford University economist who was not involved in the new report.

The research, published by the public policy nonprofit Next 10, suggests California is emerging as the sixth largest economy in the world while becoming cleaner and greener. That ... Read more

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