By Andrew Restuccia - 06/28/11 02:21 PM EDT
The report models a number of scenarios based on what the company acknowledges are “optimistic” projections of potential technological breakthroughs in the electric generation and transportation sectors, among others. It also models the potential effects of a series of federal policies, including a clean energy standard that would mandate a certain percentage of the country's electricity come from low-carbon sources, increased energy efficiency and higher fuel economy standards.
Under a scenario in which the country sees dramatic energy technology innovation and a series of aggressive federal policies like the clean energy standard, Google projects major benefits to the U.S. economy by 2030.
The benefits include growth in the U.S. economy of $244 billion per year, 1.9 million new jobs, savings of $995 per year per household and reductions in oil consumption of 1.1 billion barrels per year. Greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by 21 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.
But the report found that innovation and federal mandates and incentives alone are not enough to reduce the country’s emissions by 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050, a goal many scientists say is necessary to avert catastrophic climate change.
The report also finds that “speed matters and delay is costly.” A five-year delay in boosting energy policy innovation, for example, would result in “$2.3-3.2 trillion in unrealized GDP, an aggregate 1.2-1.4 million net unrealized jobs and 8-28 more gigatons of potential GHG emissions by 2050,” according to the report.