California Democrats are triggering nationwide criticism, and even ridicule, for passing aggressive laws and regulations on climate change. But a new poll reveals they are giving most Californians exactly what they want.
A survey by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) reveals that two-thirds (66%) of adults want the state to continue making its own policies to address climate change, separate from those of the federal government. Scientifically, such policies have a negligible effect on global climate. But Gov. Jerry Brown and his Democrats argue that they are setting an example for the world — and 58% of Californians support that leadership stance.
The poll also found:
Strong majorities of California adults (72%) and likely voters (66%) favor the state law passed last year that requires the state to reduce emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2030. Overwhelming majorities of Democrats (84%) and independents (71%) and 42 percent of Republicans support the law. Majorities across the state’s regions and racial/ethnic groups are in favor.
Half of Californians believe that the state’s actions to reduce global warming will result in more jobs in the future (22% fewer jobs, 19% no effect on jobs). Among likely voters, 49 percent say the result will be more jobs. The share of Californians who express this view is the highest since PPIC first asked the question in 2010. At the same time, most Californians (54% adults, 54% likely voters) say the state’s actions to reduce warming will cause gasoline prices to increase.
While the survey was being conducted, the legislature voted to extend the state’s cap-and-trade system until 2030. Most Californians (56%) say they have heard nothing about the system, in which the state enforces emissions “caps” by issuing permits that can be traded among companies at quarterly auctions. After hearing a short description of the system, 56 percent of adults and 49 percent of likely voters are in favor—a high point for support since PPIC began asking about cap and trade in 2009. Most Democrats (60%) and independents (54%) and 32 percent of Republicans favor cap and trade.
The survey adds that half of the state (51% adults, 48% likely voters) is “willing to pay more for electricity if it is generated by renewable sources,” and most expect gas prices to rise. Only 25% of the state supports offshore drilling, and only 22% support President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords.
The only area of environmental policy where California adults are at odds with the environmental movement is in their support for desalination plants to expand water supply: “67 percent of adults are in favor, including majorities across parties and regions and across age, education, income, and racial/ethnic groups,” the survey found. (The poll apparently did not ask about hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” but past PPIC polls found majorities in opposition.)
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.