Despite Science, 2/3 of Californians Believe Drought Caused by Global Warming

An activist dressed as a "Polar bear" displays a placard during a demonstration at the ven
AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad

According to a poll released this week by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), almost two-thirds of Californians believe, contrary to scientific evidence, that the state’s historic drought has been caused by global warming (not “climate change,” but “global warming”).

The poll found that 64% of Californians believe that global warming contributed to the drought, with 78% of Democrats agreeing (and 62% of Republicans disagreeing).

62% of Californians think global warming is affecting the state, and another 24% believe that it will have impacts in the future. 73% of Democrats and 65% of independents think global warming has already had an impact, as opposed to 37% of GOP voters. 31% of Republicans believe global warming will never have an impact.

Latinos most strongly believe that global warming has had an impact, with 69% agreeing, while 63% of blacks, 60% of Asians, and 58% of whites echo that viewpoint. 66% of Democrats, 51% of independents, and only 26% of Republicans think that global warming poses a serious threat.

58% of Californians said the water supply or drought was the most important environmental issue facing the state, with air pollution ranking far behind at 9%.

46% of respondents said that the State Water Resources Board’s 25% statewide water cutback was the correct action, although 64% said they had no idea what their district’s target amount was.

Scientists have concluded that California’s drought is the result of a natural anomaly, not global warming (or climate change).

The NOAA Drought Task Force, organized by the NOAA Modeling, Analysis, Predictions and Projections Program (MAPP) of the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research/Climate Program Office, speaking of the drought, pointed out, “The CMIP5 models project that rising greenhouse gases should increase California winter precipitation but that changes to date are small compared to the recent drought anomalies. As such, the recent drought was dominated by natural variability, a conclusion framed by a discussion of the differences between observed and modeled tropical SST trends over the past decades.”

Bernie Cohen, senior fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research, said, “This is a man-made disaster. Southern California is an arid part of the world where droughts–even severe droughts–are commonplace, and knowing this, you’d think the government of California would have included this mathematical certainty in its disaster preparedness planning, but the government has done nothing, not even store rain, as the population has continued to grow.”


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