Aggressive spending and expansion in clean technology would generate 1.1 million new jobs by 2030 and reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 13 percent, according to a new report by Google. If the U.S. employs more federal mandates and provides funding for clean technology projects, those projects will generate 1.9 million jobs and reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 21 percent, the report states.
By 2050, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions would be cut by 55 percent without federal mandates and funding for clean technology projects. The U.S. will cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 63 percent if the government introduces aggressive clean technology policies.
Google’s report focuses on two ways to increase the funding for clean technology projects. The first is a model in which the U.S. government aggressively expands its clean technology policies and increases the amount of nuclear power deployed. That model also assumes that there are additional carbon-capture projects deployed in the U.S.
The second model, which would have less of an impact than government intervention, involves taxing carbon emissions at $30 per ton. That would bring up the cost of power produced by plants that use coal, natural gas and other types of fossil fuels. It would bring the cost of electricity and power from those plants to something comparable with renewable energy sources like wind power and solar power.
With government intervention, clean technology spending would increase the United States’ GDP by around $244 billion per year and reduce household costs by $995 annually. With carbon taxes, the United States’ GDP would increase by $155 billion per year and U.S. consumers would save $942 annually.
Google has thus far invested $780 million in clean energy projects, $700 million this year alone. Google’s clean energy investments don’t come out of the company’s traditional investment arm, Google Ventures. Instead, the money comes from the company’s main treasury and is invested by the company’s Green Business Operations team. Google typically makes financial investments in clean energy projects that will generate some kind of return, but it has also made investments that have resulted in power purchase agreements — meaning Google uses the renewable energy to power its own data centers.