There are some no-regret actions we can take to combat climate change, and one of the best is energy efficiency. The returns on investment are substantial in their own right, even before we start calculating the benefits of reducing CO2-emissions growth.
California has been at the forefront in developing ways of improving energy efficiency for some time (the poor handling of their energy supply is another matter*). It turns out to be having even more benefits than originally expected. From the New York Times:
“California’s energy-efficiency policies created nearly 1.5 million jobs from 1977 to 2007, while eliminating fewer than 25,000…”Consumers were able to reduce energy spending,” the study said, adding that “these savings were diverted to other demand. When consumers shift one dollar of demand from electricity to groceries, they create jobs among retailers, wholesalers, food processors and other businesses.”
* It could be argued that Gray Davis’s mishandling of energy are part of the reason for California’s efficiency advances – his abysmal efforts contributed greatly to his recall, and the subsequent election of the Governator, who has been pushing green-ish policies (or at least not opposing them).