This report presents a Climate Policy Equity Framework meant to help California policymakers develop and evaluate climate policy. The framework includes specific criteria for tracking progress in meeting three main goals of environmental justice, economic equity, and public accountability. The authors use these criteria to analyze how close a particular climate policy or program has come to meeting these equity goals. They highlight indicators and corresponding data sources that can better track the impact of climate policy on equity.
The authors look at the framework through evidence available from carbon-reduction legislations in California, including the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act (Assembly Bill 32), Senate Bill 350 (2015), and Senate Bill 32 (2016). Evidence and examples from the state’s past interventions in energy efficiency and renewable energy guide their recommendations. While the low-carbon transition has not (yet) resulted in a net loss in jobs, the authors highlight the policies’ distributional impacts, the potential for increasingly ambitious greenhouse gas–reduction targets to worsen job losses, and the lower wages and career prospects associated with some of the created jobs. They recommend tangible public policy steps, including requiring labor standards for public projects, equitably distributing public incentive funds, and monitoring the equity performance of California’s climate policies.