In an effort to see how California’s efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions through renewable energy and energy efficiency stack up against those of other major polluters across the world, California-based nonprofit Next 10 introduced its 2015 California Green Innovation Index, International Edition. The new report was presented today ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris this week.
The report found that both California and the U.S. are leading the world in reducing emissions in several ways, including the production of renewable energy. Also, the nations of the E.U. generated 430 billion kilowatt hours from renewable energy in 2012. That included energy produced from geothermal, solar, wind, biomass and waste sources. The U.S. was second behind the the E.U., generating 147 billion kilowatt hours from renewables in 2012. It should be noted that significantly more renewable energy has come online in the U.S. since then. Still the U.S. has a long way to go to reduce its emissions.
“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.
Among the report’s key findings, in the past two years the U.S. has led the world in clean tech venture capital funding. That means that between 2013 and 2014 private investments in clean energy like solar energy and other clean technologies, rose 74 percent to $8.2 billion. During that same period E.U. such funding fell 10 percent to $1.0 billion. Along the same lines the U.S. and European Union lead the world in clean tech patents. The U.S. produced 18,937 patents compared to 11,330 produced by the E.U.
Germany leads the E.U. and California leads the U.S. in clean tech patents. Japan and South Korea were other leaders in the clean tech patent space.
“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, founder of Next 10.
Another finding was that one-third of all electric vehicles sold in the world in 2014 were in the U.S.—more than any other country, according to the report. Roughly half of those U.S. sales occurred in California.
The report also found that France, California and Italy have lowest carbon intensive economies in the world among the top 50 greenhouse gas producers in the world. Next 10 added that California has established GHG agreements with multiple nations including China, Peru, Mexico and Israel.