Issues & Insights

Is California’s Economy On The Brink Due To Climate Change?

Editor’s note: This has been excerpted with permission from the Pacific Research Institute. To read the entire report, click here.

The economic outlook for California inspires as much optimism as a weather report of dark clouds and heavy thunderstorms. Rather than entertain the possibility that the hard times are the result of poor public policy, blame has been assigned to an outside influence: climate change. It’s a way to avoid the hard work of rolling back the policies that hurt the economy and an excuse to accelerate the green agenda.

According to the UCLA Anderson School of Management, while “the state’s economic outlook will improve substantially,” a full recovery “will not occur before the end of 2022.” The September report also predicts that even though the unemployment rate will fall below 10% by the end of 2020, it will be “close to 6% at the close of 2022 (compared to just under 5% for the U.S. as a whole).”

A couple of weeks after the school issued its forecast, Bloomberg News was reporting that “California’s Boom Collapses” as “wildfires, power outages and extreme weather that have ravaged California are setting the stage for a deepening economic crisis for an engine of U.S. growth.”

By December, the Bank of the West’s California Economic Outlook noted the state’s “labor market recovery is lagging the nation” and assumed “additional substantial fiscal support from the federal government will be needed” to reach even “modest job growth across the state of California in 2021.”

Three months after its September analysis, the Anderson School predicted “the ’20s will be roaring, but with several months of hardship first,” caused by “rising COVID infections, continued social distancing, and the expiration of social assistance programs.”

Of note: There were no climate-related policies enacted over the last quarter of 2020 that would have changed the somewhat dreary economic forecasts to conditionally optimistic projections.

Part of California’s economic troubles were clearly caused by the pandemic economic lockdowns, which the Legislative Analyst’s Office called “an unprecedented disruption to California’s economy,” grinding it “abruptly … to a halt.” The lockdowns were the products of policy decisions and had no connection whatsoever to climate. Just another one of this state’s many self-inflicted wounds.


Wildfires are also to blame.

To continue reading, click here.

Kerry Jackson is a fellow with the Center for California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute.

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5 comments

  • Links are broken on Android. Your ads have made your site impossible to use. That’s a shame.

    • Thanks for the heads up. We fixed the links — the problem was on our end. About the ads, we are trying to find the right balance between ad revenue and user experience. Please bear with us as we figure this one out.

  • No, the California’s Economy is NOT On The Brink Due To Climate Change, but due to Newsom!

    California dysfunctional energy policies have already made the state’s electricity and fuel prices among the highest in the nation which have been contributory to the rapid growth of “energy poverty”, and some of the highest unemployment, overcrowding, homelessness, and poverty rates in America for the 18 million (45 percent of the 40 million Californians) that represent the Hispanic and African American populations of the state.

    Governor Newsom’s fiscal challenges may be the driving force for the current recall efforts. Under his guidance, he continues to perpetuate the state’s dysfunctional energy polices and continues to do everything possible to further INCREASE the costs for energy for its 40 million residents. At the same time, the states’ Employment Development Department (EDD) experiences massive fraud and has paid billions of dollars to criminals and continues its spiral into oblivion.

  • Why should California democrats worry about fiscal collapse when they know that the Feds will view California as “too big to fail”? Whatever the size of the bailout might need to be, the Fed’s printing presses will cover it. The resultant erosion in the value of the dollar will be born by the middle class. Which is not a concern for our ruling oligarchy, which favors a modern version of feudalism.

  • Were all ready pushing for Newsoms recall he has don’t worst case of proving and he has become even more incompetent them Moonbeam Brown ever was and the rest of the Democ-Rats ruining California

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