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Just the FACTS

Californians’ Views on Climate Change

    • Most Californians say it is important for the state to be a leader on climate change.
      A majority of Californians say it is very important (54%) that the state is a world leader in fighting climate change; 24% say it is somewhat important. Democrats (67%) are much more likely than independents (48%) and Republicans (23%) to say it is very important. Strong majorities of Latinos (68%) and African Americans (65%)—and fewer whites (47%) and Asian Americans (46%)—say it is very important. Two in three Californians (65%) favor the state acting independently of the federal government to combat global warming, while 28% are opposed. Democrats (82%) are far more likely than independents (61%) or Republicans (29%) to favor state efforts. Majorities across regions and age, education, gender, income, and racial/ethnic groups support state action.

How important is it that California acts as a leader around the world in efforts to flight climate change?

figure - How important is it that California acts as a leader around the world in efforts to flight climate change?

SOURCE: PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians and the Environment, July 2018. Margin of error for all adults is +/-3.4%.

    • Two in three Californians say the effects of global warming are already occurring.
      Two-thirds of Californians (67%) say global warming’s effects have already begun, and one in five (20%) say the effects will begin in the future. Only 8% say the effects will never happen. Since 2005, when PPIC began asking this question, majorities have said the effects have already begun. Today, majorities across regions and age, education, gender, and income groups hold this view. Asian Americans (78%) are the most likely to say the effects have already begun, while whites (12%) are the most likely to say the effects will never happen. A similar proportion of adults nationwide (60%, March 2018 Gallup Poll) say the effects have already begun.
    • Most Californians are concerned about the impact of global warming.
      Most Californians (80%) view global warming as a very serious (56%) or somewhat serious (24%) threat to the state’s future economy and quality of life. At least half across age, education, gender, income, and racial/ethnic groups see global warming as a very serious threat. Democrats (76%) are three times as likely as Republicans (22%) to hold this view. More than eight in ten Californians across regions and demographic groups are very or somewhat concerned about more severe wildfires caused by extreme weather, a possible impact of global warming. More than seven in ten Californians are very or somewhat concerned about ocean warming affecting marine and coastal life (78%) and rising sea levels having an impact on flooding and beach erosion (74%). On both issues, concern is higher among Democrats than among Republicans.

How serious is the threat of global warming to California’s future?

figure - How serious is the threat of global warming to California’s future?

SOURCE: PPIC Statewide Survey series. The margin of error for all adults in July 2018 is +/-3.4%. The margins of error for subgroups are larger.

    • Most Californians support state efforts to address global warming.
      In PPIC surveys from 2006 to 2016, strong majorities of Californians favored the state’s landmark law limiting greenhouse gas emissions (Assembly Bill 32). Today, 67% said they favor the more ambitious goals set by Senate Bill 32. Across racial/ethnic groups, Latinos (73%) are the most likely to be in favor while whites (64%) are the least likely. When asked about a proposed state law that would require 100% of the state’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources (Senate Bill 100), 72% of Californians are in favor, while 21% are opposed. At least six in ten across regions and demographic groups are in favor of both policies.
    • Majorities support action on climate change even if it brings increased costs.
      Half of Californians (50%) say they would be willing to pay more for electricity generated by renewable sources to reduce global warming. When asked how state action to reduce global warming might affect gas prices, a majority of Californians (56%) say they expect prices would increase. Half of Californians (48%) believe that state policies to combat global warming would cause there to be more jobs around the state, while 18% would expect fewer jobs; 23% think there would be no effect.
    • Most Californians say the issue of global warming is personally important.
      Most Californians (62%) say the issue of global warming is important to them personally (28% extremely important, 34% very important), compared to 48% of adults nationwide (June 2018, ABC News/Stanford/ Resources for the Future Poll). Most Democrats (80%) and independents (61%) say global warming is extremely or very important to them personally, while 29% of Republicans say the same. Latinos (72%) are the most likely to hold this view, followed by Asian Americans (64%), African Americans (61%), and whites (55%).

Demographic breakdown of views on climate change

table - Demographic breakdown of views on climate change

SOURCES: PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians and the Environment, July 2018 (1,711 adults and 1,020 likely voters), and PPIC Statewide Survey series. The margin of error for all adults in July 2018 is +/-3.4%.The margins of error for subgroups are larger.


Related Content

PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians and the Environment, July 2018

Supported with funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation, the Flora Family Foundation, and the Heising-Simons Foundation

Authors

Mark BaldassareMark Baldassare
President and Chief Executive Officer
Dean BonnerDean Bonner
Associate Survey Director
Photo of Alyssa DykmanAlyssa Dykman
Research Associate
Staffphoto LopesLunna Lopes
Research Associate
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