Jones, Betony; Elkind, Ethan; Duncan, Kevin; and Hanson, Marilee, "The Economic Impacts of California’s Major Climate Programs on the San Joaquin Valley" (2017). Center for Law, Energy & the Environment Publications. 38.
The San Joaquin Valley plays a critical role in shaping California’s climate policy and is worthy of study due to its function as a bellwether of the state’s transition to a low-carbon economy. Reducing emissions is vitally important for the San Joaquin Valley. The Valley’s topography traps pollution, and air quality and the resulting health conditions are far worse in the Valley than in other region of the state. The region also faces more socioeconomic challenges than the state as a whole. Thus the Valley is vulnerable to both climate change and to climate policy. If policymakers can make climate policy work for the Valley, it will work for the state and demonstrate that these policies and programs can work for vulnerable communities around the world.
In the California Legislature, some San Joaquin Valley (“Valley”) representatives have raised concerns about the impact the state’s climate policy and programs could have on jobs. But claims and counter-claims about the economic impact of climate policies have been wielded in an informational vacuum. To date, no comprehensive independent or academic study has sought to calculate and analyze current and future economic impacts of state climate policies within the San Joaquin Valley, comprised of the eight counties of Fresno, Madera, Merced, Kern, Kings, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tulare. Together, these counties represent 11 percent of the state’s population.
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