Preserving the Environment

This Small Change Could Create 47,000 Jobs and Cut 2.5 Million Tons of CO2 Emissions in Los Angeles

August 11, 2014
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This Small Change Could Create 47,000 Jobs and Cut 2.5 Million Tons of CO2 Emissions in Los Angeles
A team of researchers is trying to map out the best places to place solar panels in Los Angeles to provide policymakers with better data. The map is a joint project of Environmental Defense Fund and UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation Getty Images
The LASER study reveals the environmental potential of Los Angeles County, helping it invest in a sustainable future.

Green solutions and green jobs are a hot topic in this country. Not only can the green industry make our planet healthier, but it can bring employment opportunities to repressed areas as well.

But the question remains how to turn this into a reality. Which is why California took the initiative and conducted a study on how to help Los Angeles County adjust to climate change and to help both the public and policymakers make educated decisions and preparations about it.

The Los Angeles Solar and Efficiency Report (LASER) is the brainchild of the Environmental Defense Fund and the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation. Data that was collected includes information on current environmental health risks, temperature increases and areas susceptible to climate change.

Armed with this knowledge, communities can now pinpoint areas and projects in which to invest to increase renewable energy jobs and decrease electrical bills.

The research team used a data driven mapping tool to show the county’s renewable energy potential. Focusing on rooftop solar energy generation and energy efficient measures, the map details where the county is currently — and where it could be with a few simple adjustments.

Currently, Los Angeles County only uses two percent of its solar power potential. However, by increasing that number to just 10 percent, theoretically, the county could create 47,000 jobs and reduce their CO2 emissions by 2.5 million tons. Not bad, huh?

The report also focuses on providing solutions for vulnerable areas, which right now, numbers about 3.7 million people, or 38 percent of the country.

According to Colleen Callahan, the head researcher of the report and deputy director of the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, the report is being released at the perfect time. “The project is timely because with new state funding sources becoming available, LASER can help inform how the region invests resources to address pressing environmental challenges while providing job opportunities in its most impacted communities,” Callahan told EcoWatch.

And with the White House calling for states to become more environmentally aware, the LASER report is a leading example and has received praise from the administration for its work.

As it should, because of the information it gives to policymakers, helping them make smart investments. After all, doing something wise with greenbacks can grow some major green results.

MORE: 5 Inspiring Green Initiatives Moving America Towards a Bright Future

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