Californians Want Action on Environment

New poll shows Californians want to lead on responding to climate change

by Brian Leubitz

In a PPIC poll just released this evening, Californians said that they want action on the environment. As you can see from the graph, Californians think the time to act is now.

About two-thirds of Californians (68%) support the state law, AB 32, which requires California to reduce its emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Strong majorities have favored this law since the survey first asked about it in July 2006, but a partisan divide has emerged on the question. While most Democrats, Republicans, and independents favored the law in 2006, support since then has increased 14 points among Democrats (from 67% to 81% today) and dropped 26 points among Republicans (from 65% to 39% today). Support has dipped slightly among independents (from 68% to 62% today). A strong majority of Californians (65%) favor the state making its own policies to address global warming.

Why the big drop in Republican support? Ah, that would be the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger is gone. AB 32 was as much his doing as the sponsors of the bill, current Sen. Pavley or former Speaker Fabian Nunez or anybody else. Now that he’s out of office, there just isn’t that big name Republican support and so the cratering should be no surprise.

Many see the drought and long-term warming trends as serious challenges for the state:  

Majorities of Californians are at least somewhat concerned about four possible impacts of global warming in the state. More than six in 10 adults are very concerned about droughts (64%) and wildfires (61%) that are more severe. Fewer Californians express this level of concern for heat waves that are more severe (44%) or rising sea levels (32%). The share saying they are very concerned about droughts that are more severe is up 15 points since last July (49%) and is at a new high (previously 60% in July 2007). Concern about more-severe wildfires was similar in the past.

There is a lot more environmental data here for those that care to look through the cross-tabs, they can be found at PPIC’s website. You’ll find questions on the carbon tax (58% support), more detailed questions on cap and trade(51 %support), KeystoneXL (53% support) and a whole lot more.

Now, as for elected officials, don’t expect any big changes come November. Gov. Brown has a 53% approval rating, with just 28% disapproving. And he holds a 52-33 lead over Republican Neel Kashkari. The Legislature isn’t fairing quite so well, with a 38% approval rating, but that is slightly up from May’s 36%. And President Obama has a 50% approval rate here in California.

One thought on “Californians Want Action on Environment”

  1. Not too surprised. A lot of technology coming online makes emission reductions less intrusive and expensive.

    Although, I’ll disagree on this or that on environmental policy I will say this – California’s incredibly mild climate defines what it is. Its why people want to live here. It wants technology thrives here. Its why we are rich.  

    The CAGOP needs to clue into this and come up with a decent alternative environmental policy.

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