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California Climate Policies Help, Hurt Inland Empire

Mountains are shown near UC Riverside in this undated photo.

Credit: UC Riverside

Above: Mountains are shown near UC Riverside in this undated photo.

A UC Berkeley researcher recently found that the state's climate-friendly policies led to more than $9 billion in investments in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. That helped create more than 40,000 jobs in the region known as the Inland Empire.

The study was commissioned by Next 10, a nonpartisan research group.

Lead author Betony Jones said investment in renewable energy has had a major impact in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

"Both the San Joaquin Valley and the Inland Empire have really strong solar and wind resources. And so a lot of investments from the state has gone to those regions. And that is the largest contributor to the net economic benefit in both regions," Jones said.

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The construction industry benefited the most from the renewable fuels construction boom that saw a lot of solar and wind projects in the area.

However, fossil fuel industries were hurt during the same period, losing nearly $1.7 billion in sales and more than 1,100 jobs.

Jones found that the state's cap-and-trade policy helped boost the economy. That program requires companies to pay to offset the pollution they create.

Cap-and-trade funneled investments into the region's transportation sector.

"People commute longer than the state average. And the warehousing transportation industry and related industry, the supply chain of a lot of our goods, originate in the inland empire," Jones said.

Jones said this was the first study that also considered the losses created by climate-friendly policies.

The state's Inland Empire got a huge economic boost from California's climate-friendly programs.


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