JUNE 11, 2021
Kuttner on TAP
A Green Transition for California
It’s becoming increasingly clear that a green transition is a big winner—for jobs, for new clean industry, and of course for the environment. It’s also clear, once you get down to cases, that this strategy is eminently affordable.

Our friends at the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at UMass Amherst have just released the latest in their series of state-level studies on exactly how to make a clean-energy transition work, this one for California.

The Golden State is especially fertile territory to actually implement such a plan, since it has large and progressive Democratic majorities in both houses of the state legislature as well as a progressive governor in Gavin Newsom, and has long been ahead of national policy when it comes to climate. California also currently has an immense state budget surplus.

The PERI report was commissioned by several California unions, and is endorsed by 18 unions and labor federations, as well as by climate groups. The study is worth reading in its entirety.

The basic concept is to reach California climate goals of 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and 100 percent (zero emissions) by 2045, by systematically building a clean-energy infrastructure to fully displace the existing carbon fuel infrastructure, being mindful of the need for a just transition for workers in the carbon economy.

The PERI plan would create about a million net new jobs, and cost an average of $76 billion a year between now and 2030. Under California’s projected share of President Biden’s proposed infrastructure outlays, the federal government would provide more than half of this. The public money, in turn, would generate a like amount of private investment.

We’re reached a point where a green transition is more than cost-effective. All that’s needed is the right kind of blueprint and political leadership. In this short interview, I discussed the details of the PERI California plan with its lead author, economist Robert Pollin.

On overdraft, the JPMorgan Chase CEO’s testimony is contradicted by his own bank’s data. BY ALEXANDER SAMMON
There is no mystery. Governments just need to want to do it. BY REUVEN AVI-YONAH
Like right-wing politicians, they’re primarily interested in catering to the most extreme parts of their base. BY ERIC ALTERMAN
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