Climate Resilience Bond Could Create Between 75,000-119,000 Jobs Says New Bay Area Council Economic Institute Report
A bond measure to protect California communities from wildfires, droughts, floods, and extreme heat events could create between 75,000 and 119,000 jobs statewide, and generate between $9.6 billion and $15 billion in total economic activity according to a new study by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. The study looked at the economic and job impacts of hypothetical $5 billion and $8 billion bond measures with spending categories that reflect recent bond proposals from Governor Newsom and the State Senate and Assembly.
“Investing in climate resilience can also be an investment in economic resilience,” said Jeff Bellisario, Executive Director of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. “The results from the study are clear: climate resilience investments go well beyond the environment, and they can be an important stimulus for job creation across multiple industries that are key to California’s overall economic success.”
The report also found that a $500 million allocation to the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority would create up to 6,600 jobs for the region while improving regional flood protection, ecosystem resilience, and public access to the Bay shoreline. The Restoration Authority is today funded by Measure AA, a regional $12 parcel tax approved by over 70 percent of Bay Area voters in 2016.
The report comes at crucial time as lawmakers grapple with California’s economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19, including the loss of more than 4 million jobs. Governor Newsom’s January budget included a proposal for a $4.75 billion climate resilience bond, and on January 29 the California Senate passed SB 45 (Allen) which would place a $5.51 billion bond measure on the November 2020 ballot. On Wednesday, May 13, the Assembly Natural Resources Committee will consider AB 3256 (Garcia), a $6.98 billion bond proposal.
The study, which was supported by the Resources Legacy Fund, provides a quantitative, model-based analysis of the potential job creation benefits of climate resilience investments in California. Collectively, these jobs will protect Californians from drought, wildfire, extreme heat, and sea level rise.
What Leaders Are Saying
“Using state bond funds to match local funding generated by the Measure AA parcel tax for tidal wetland restoration will not only accelerate the completion of critical shovel ready projects, but will also help stimulate our local economy that is suffering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine who chairs the SF Bay Restoration Authority. “Funding these restoration projects will create thousands of jobs for such professions as heavy equipment operators, surveyors, environmental scientists, project planners and land managers to name a few.”
“COVID-19 doesn’t care if California has plunged back into drought or that the state is primed for another dangerous wildfire season, the risk is there regardless,” said Jim Wunderman, President & CEO of the Bay Area Council. “This report shows how we can reignite our economy today by improving the resilience of our homes and businesses for tomorrow.”
“In the past, many have viewed environmental protection and job creation as mutually exclusive” said Norma Camacho, President & CEO, Valley Water. “This report demonstrates quite the opposite. We do have an opportunity to achieve economic recovery by the creation of a new industry founded on resiliency.”
“Reducing climate risks in the Bay Area and statewide remain urgent priorities for public health and the environment” said David Lewis, President & CEO of Save the Bay. “The COVID pandemic shows the cost of not preparing for known risks, and why climate adaptation can’t wait. This report shows that boosting investments in resilience work now also will hasten our economic recovery.”
“Adapting to climate change, working towards a healthy economy, and increasing social equity must be integrated efforts” said Annie Burke, Executive Director of TOGETHER Bay Area. “As we face multiple crises – public health, historic job losses, climate risks like catastrophic wildfire – we have the opportunity to transform how we do things. This report shows it’s possible for California to build a green and just path to economic stability. TOGETHER Bay Area’s 56 members – public agencies, Indigenous Tribes, and nonprofits – are ready to help realize this vision. And if there was ever a moment for California to lead the way, it is now.”
“This report demonstrates that we don’t have to choose between a strong economy and climate resilience,” said Carl Guardino, President & CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. “Protecting California homes and businesses from the ravages of wildfire, drought, and flooding will create up to 100,000 jobs and support businesses all around our state. This work will also help California emerge from the COVID-19 recession stronger than ever, and ensure we are better prepared to deal with the ravages brought about by the climate crisis.”