A recent survey conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California revealed that a majority of Californians are in favor of environmental policies. The survey, which took a sample of 2,500 state residents, revealed that 66 percent of Californians consider air pollution a “big problem” and that 67 percent of Californians were supportive of state measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
The news is encouraging since national polls suggest that the American public is less likely to believe in climate change now than it was five years ago.
The study also found that residents are generally in favor of California’s ambitious climate change policy. According to the survey, 2 in 3 Californians support AB32, which is a state law that requires California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
However, respondents disagreed on how to achieve those reduction targets. 60 percent favored a carbon tax, which would levy a fee on polluting companies. Slightly fewer respondents, at 54 percent, supported a cap-and-trade system to achieve those targets. Although it has been delayed, the cap-and-trade program has been proposed for California and would put a ceiling on greenhouse gas emissions, with companies buying and selling permits in order to emit more.
Renewable energy was also strongly supported by Californians, with 77 percent in favor of increasing the state’s proportion of wind, solar, and geothermal. However, support for renewable energy dropped to 46 percent if it would mean higher electricity bills.
State policy-makers should take note of the recent survey, as it suggests California residents are ready to move forward with environmental policies. Dan Jacobson, legislative director for Environment California in Sacramento says that “this should be a wake-up call for state legislators who should be moving as fast as humanly possible on clean energy and clean air.”
Aside from the proposed cap-and-trade program, is there more the state government can be doing to better reflect the public’s stance on the environment?
Image CC licensed by Marcy Reiford: Los Angeles At Sundown.