Californians see global warming as a threat, and support action to abate

Decision makers at every level across California should take notice of today’s affirmation that the public supports California’s efforts to respond to the causes of climate change.

The results from the newly released Public Policy Institute of California’s annual survey of Californian attitudes towards the environment speak loud and clear: The majority of Californians see global warming as a serious threat to the state’s economy and their future quality of life and they continue to support measures to reduce green house gas emissions through the state’s cap and trade law.

Since the poll also revealed that many Californians think not enough is being done on this issue – particularly at the federal level – those in a position to make policy changes should take this poll as a call to action to address what the public sees as a major threat to their lives and livelihoods.

That’s not to say that significant efforts aren’t already underway. In addition to California’s visionary cap and trade law about to go into effect at the beginning of next year, the state just released its third assessment of our climate change vulnerabilities – a reminder that in addition to reducing our emissions we must also prepare for the climate impacts that scientists tell us are still to come.

Highlights from the PPIC poll include:

  • A majority of likely voters say global warming is a serious threat (40% very serious, 26% somewhat serious) to the economy and quality of life in California’s future.
  • 62% of likely voters support the state’s cap and trade law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Four in ten Californians say efforts to reduce greenhouse gases will result in more jobs.
  • 64% of likely voters say steps need to be taken right away to counter the effects of global warming.
  • 53% of likely voters say the federal government is not doing enough to address global warming.
  • 42% of likely voters say state and local governments are not doing enough to address global warming.
  • The majority (78% of Californians and 73% of likely voters) is in favor of increasing federal funding to develop wind, solar, and hydrogen technology. That support is reflected across political party lines.

So the science is in, and so is public opinion. Our leaders have every incentive they need to take sustained and decisive action to kick start economic growth by moving forward with California’s groundbreaking climate law.

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