California Green Innovation Index goes global: Golden State ranks top among countries worldwide

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SAN FRANCISCO — In advance of the historic United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris this year, the California Green Innovation Index, for the first time, analyzes and ranks the Golden State’s economic and energy performance in comparison to the world’s 50 largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting nations.

Next 10’s 2015 California Green Innovation Index, International Edition charts GDP, emissions, energy productivity, renewable energy generation, clean tech investments and other key metrics. California and the U.S. collectively lead the world on several critical indicators.
“With one of the world’s largest economies, California is growing its GDP while shrinking its carbon footprint. It is a prime example of the decoupling of economic growth and energy use that is beginning to happen among the world’s most productive nations,” said F. Noel Perry, businessman and founder of the nonpartisan nonprofit group Next 10.

In observance of Climate Week Paris and on the eve of the Business & Climate Summit at UNESCO headquarters, Perry will present the new report findings Tuesday to an international audience including business and government leaders and journalists at a reception at the Hotel de Talleyrand in Paris.

Findings for California include:

  • Ranks among top ten nations worldwide in total renewable energy generation, share of electricity from renewable sources, highest energy productivity and lowest carbon intensity (emissions per GDP).
  • World’s second least carbon-intensive economy. For every dollar of goods and services, California emits less carbon than any nation except France.
  • #5 in the world in energy productivity (GDP relative to total energy consumption).
  • Generated nearly 64 percent more GDP for every unit of energy consumed than the U.S. as a whole (2012). For every unit of energy, the state produced $268 billion GDP, compared to U.S. $164 billion GDP.
  • Attracted half ($5.7 billion) of clean tech global venture capital investment (2014)—second only to the U.S. as a whole. 153 percent increase in investment between 2013 and 2014.
  • Generated 23 percent of its electricity from renewable sources as of the first half of 2014. Fourth among large emitters for total share of electricity renewables.
  • #37 among top emitters for both energy use and electricity use per capita.
  • Cut electricity use per capita by four percent and total energy use per capita by 19.5 percent (1990—2012).
  • Cut GHG emissions per capita 25 percent (1990-2012) and increased GDP per capita 37 percent—the U.S. (with California) cut emissions per capita 17 percent and increased GDP per capita 37 percent.
  • Average monthly residential electricity bill decreased four percent; industrial declined 57 percent and commercial increased eight percent (1990-2012).

California has established GHG agreements with multiple nations such as China, Peru, Mexico and Israel.

“This year’s California Green Innovation Index tracks a clear shift to clean energy around the world. Although fossil fuels still represent a significant portion of our overall energy use, many analysts believe we have reached an important tipping point—globally, we are now adding more capacity for renewable power annually than fossil fuels,” said Doug Henton, chairman and CEO of Collaborative Economics, which developed The California Green Innovation Index, International Edition for Next 10.

The California Green Innovation Index, International Edition shows how this transition is playing out for the world’s top 50 emitters of GHGs. Among these nations, plus California:

  • France, California and Italy have lowest carbon intensive economies in the world.
  • Nigeria, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and California lead the world in energy productivity.
  • After the U.S. and EU, Japan, South Korea, Germany and California lead the world in clean tech patents.
  • U.S. clean tech venture capital funding rose 74 percent to $8.208 billion (2013-2014). EU funding fell 10 percent to $1.028 billion.
  • More than one-third of global electric vehicles were sold in the U.S., more than any other country in 2014. About half of U.S. sales happened in California.

U.S. electricity use per capita increased eight percent and the EU increased 17 percent (1990—2012). U.S. total energy use per capita fell 10.4 percent (1990-2012).

This week marks the kick off of Climate Week in Paris—a historic gathering of worldwide business and policy leaders. Through events like the Business & Climate Summit at the UNESCO offices in Paris, leaders will highlight business and policy solutions for decarbonizing the economy. These events come in the wake of the International Energy Agency’s announcement suggesting that the process of decoupling economic growth from GHG emissions is already underway, since the global economy grew in 2014 but carbon emissions did not. The Business & Climate Summit is one of a string of international events building momentum towards a climate agreement at a key UN Climate Summit to be held later this year, also in Paris.

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About Next 10: Next 10 is an independent, nonpartisan organization that educates, engages and empowers Californians to improve the state’s future. With a focus on the intersection between the economy, the environment and quality of life, Next 10 employs research from leading experts on complex state issues and creates a portfolio of nonpartisan educational materials to foster a deeper understanding of the critical issues affecting our state.

About Collaborative Economics: Collaborative Economics (, which developed the California Green Innovation Index, is a Silicon Valley-based research and consulting organization. CoEcon works with businesses, foundations, government, education and community sectors to do leading edge innovation and clean economy analysis for states and regions across the country.