Survey Says: Californians Support State’s Climate Fight

Californians overwhelmingly believe global warming is a serious threat and support the state’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report by the Public Policy Institute of California. The report survey shows widespread agreement when it comes to acknowledging the threat of climate change and support for state actions to fight the global temperature rise.

“There is broad consensus for the state’s efforts to address climate change, and many support the cap-and-trade system,” PPIC President and CEO Mark Baldassare said in a news release.

According to the report, for which 1,708 California adults were surveyed by phone, 81 percent of Californians believe global warming is a serious threat to the state’s future economy and quality of life. Lower-income residents are more concerned about the climate threat, as are younger Californians.

  • 70 percent of respondents ages 18 to 34 describe climate change as a “very serious threat to the state’s future.”
  • 56 percent of respondents ages 35 to 54 describe climate change as a “very serious threat to the state’s future.”
  • 48 percent of respondents age 55 and older describe climate change as a “very serious threat to the state’s future.”

The survey shows, 66 percent of California residents believe the effects of global warming have already begun. The same percentage—66 percent—supports the state making its own policies to address global warming. Support for California acting alone to fight climate change is higher among the state’s largest cities.

  • 73 percent of San Francisco Bay area residents support California taking unilateral climate action
  • 70 percent of Los Angeles residents support such unilateral action
  • 63 percent support the policy in the San Diego area
  • 55 percent support California’s “go it alone” climate policies in the Inland Empire
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The PPIC survey also found broader support among younger Californians for the state to act alone on climate:

  • 75 percent of respondents ages 18 to 34 support unilateral action by California.
  • 65 percent of those ages 35 to 54 support unilateral action by California.
  • 57 percent of respondents age 55 and older support unilateral action by California.

Seventy-two percent of California adults surveyed favor current legislative targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent of 1990 levels by the year 2030. About half of likely voters believe California’s climate policies will result in new jobs.

As an integral part of California’s far-reaching efforts to slow and reverse the effects of climate change, the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery is implementing programs and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To date, California Climate Investments has allocated $72 million in Cap-and-Trade proceeds to California’s waste sector, primarily through grants to build or expand conventional compost and in-vessel digestion operations. Grants have included $5 million for food waste recovery projects that divert landfill-destined, edible food to Californians in need.

CalRecycle is also tasked with overseeing programs to reduce organic waste disposal in California. When sent to landfills, this material decomposes and emits methane—a greenhouse gas 70 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Organic waste accounts for more than one-third of the state’s waste stream.

In September 2016, Governor Brown signed SB 1383 (Lara, Chapter 395, Statutes of 2016), establishing targets for reduction of short-lived climate pollutants, including methane. The law calls for a 50 percent reduction of organics in landfills by 2020 and 75 percent reduction by 2025. It grants CalRecycle the regulatory authority necessary to reach these targets, which also includes 20 percent of currently disposed edible food be recovered for human consumption by 2025.

Right now, CalRecycle is engaging waste and recycling businesses, trade associations, and other stakeholders to gather input on the development of regulations to implement SB 1383. Stay up to date on developments and future workshops by joining the SLCP Listserv.

— Lance Klug
Posted on Aug 24, 2017

Summary: Californians overwhelmingly believe global warming is a serious threat and support the state’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report by the Public Policy Institute of California. The report survey shows widespread agreement when it comes to acknowledging the threat of climate change and support for state actions to fight the global temperature rise.