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Top Economists Agree: Blocking State’s Clean Energy Law Will Be Costly: Berkeley economist says AB 32 spurs innovation and job creation

Berkeley (July 19, 2010) – More than 100 Ph.D. economists with expertise in California energy and climate issues released an open letter today warning against any delay in the implementation of California clean energy policies. The letter was organized by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

A broad array of the nation’s leading economists, including Nobel laureate Kenneth Arrow, a former professor at Stanford University, disagree with those who support suspending implementation of emission reduction policies. “Delaying action now,” the letter states, “will be more costly than initiating action now.”

“Postponing the implementation of California’s 2006 law, the Global Warming Solutions Act, will make it more expensive in the end for California to clean up our air pollution,” said Michael Hanemann, Professor of agricultural and resource economics and co-director of UC Berkeley’s Climate and Energy Policy Institute. “The Air Resources Board is pursuing a balanced and prudent approach that emphasizes increasing our energy efficiency and reducing our dependence on imported fossil fuels that jeopardize our energy security. Any delay in implementing the law would benefit some special interests while imposing a greater burden on local governments.”

The 118 economists who signed the letter support AB 32 and the clean energy policies it requires, stating that these policies can “stimulate innovation and efficiency,” “help the state become a technological leader in the global marketplace,” “improve our energy security, create new business opportunities and more jobs,” and “provide immediate benefits to the health and welfare of residents by reducing local pollutants.”

Hanemann added, “China understands that the world is moving to clean energy, which is why China is investing billions of dollars in clean energy technology. They want to own the future trillion-dollar global clean energy market. California’s clean energy policies have us well positioned to lead – but not if we slow or stall them. California’s clean energy policies make our workers and businesses more competitive while cleaning up pollution at the same time.”

Signed into law in 2006, AB 32 requires the California Air Resources Board to implement clean energy policies that require more energy efficient homes, buildings and vehicles; cleaner transportation fuels; increased reliance on renewable energy; and reductions in carbon pollution. UCS supports the adoption of effective standards to implement AB 32.

NOTE: Economists are available for comment. To arrange an interview, please call the media contact listed above.


The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading U.S. science-based nonprofit organization working for a healthy environment and a safer world. Founded in 1969, UCS is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and also has offices in Berkeley, Chicago and Washington, D.C. For more information, go to

To view a full version of the letter with signers, go to

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