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Building Back Better: Investing in a Resilient Recovery for Washington State

Climate XChange and the Low Carbon Prosperity Institute introduce a "Resilient Recovery Portfolio" to inform future economic and community health recovery plans.

Today, the Low Carbon Prosperity Institute (LCPI) and Climate XChange (CXC) released new research addressing the dual challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic: economic recovery and community health. The report, "Building Back Better Washington: Investing in Jobs and Community Health for a Resilient Recovery," finds that a very effective path to economic recovery prioritizes investments in a Resilient Recovery Portfolio of programs, which collectively offer a positive return on investment in community health through clean air benefits and avoided climate damages. These programs include investments in clean transportation, forest conservation and ecosystem restoration, clean energy, water and energy efficiency, low carbon agriculture, and sustainable industry.

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"This report provides a framework to build back a better Washington," said Kevin Tempest, research and development scientist at LCPI and a lead author of the report. "Robust, community-centric job growth that generates net local benefits is the outcome we should expect for Washington State. By making smart investments, we can achieve a triple win — high job growth, improved community health, and durable climate benefits."

Key Findings

  • For every million dollars invested, programs in the Resilient Recovery Portfolio create an average of 10.1 full-time-equivalent jobs (FTEs). By comparison, the same amount invested in the state’s largest industries would produce 4.3 FTEs or 7.4 FTEs if spread throughout the broader state economy.
  • Every million dollars invested in the Resilient Recovery Portfolio offers $2.4 million in public health and climate benefits, including $1.6 million in clean air benefits.
  • These employment and health benefits are likely to endure and improve over time as Washington moves toward greatly reduced air pollution and a net zero-emissions future. Investing in these types of programs at the scale necessary to meet the state’s climate goals would unlock net health and climate benefits of $46 billion through 2050 while continuing the demand for the types of jobs highlighted in this report.

These findings can help state and federal policymakers design an economic recovery plan that maximizes job creation and the long-term benefit to communities across the country.

"We want to address the challenge of rethinking how we recover from crises," said Jonah Kurman-Faber, senior research associate at CXC, and a lead author of the report. "Our analysis can help kick-start a new mindset for a truly resilient economic recovery that prioritizes people and community well-being holistically."

Download the full report at:
LCPI: https://www.lowcarbonprosperity.org/project/building-back-better/
CXC: https://climate-xchange.org/jobs-and-public-health-benefits-from-green-stimulus-in-washington/

About the Low Carbon Prosperity Institute

The Low Carbon Prosperity Institute’s proven system design approach delivers the strategic guidance needed to achieve long-term success in reducing greenhouse gases while building an even more powerful economy. LCPI believes in the power of business leadership, bipartisan problem solving, and data-driven public policy. More information at https://www.lowcarbonprosperity.org/.

About Climate XChange

Climate XChange is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with a mission to advance the transition towards the low-carbon economy of the future in states across the United States. With a three-pronged approach of research, media, and advocacy, and a State Carbon Pricing Network with over 7,500 members nationwide, CXC is at the forefront of state-level emissions reductions policy. For more information, visit https://climate-xchange.org/.

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Samara Villasenor, for Low Carbon Prosperity Institute

Maria Virginia Olano, for Climate XChange