Just the FACTS
- Californians are more likely than adults nationwide to see global climate change as a very serious problem.
PPIC’s December 2015 Statewide Survey found that a majority of Californians (57%) view global climate change as a very serious problem; only 45% of adults nationwide expressed this view in a spring 2015 survey by the Pew Research Center. Indeed, Californians are relatively likely to say global climate change is a very serious problem compared to residents of the Group of Eight nations surveyed by Pew (56% France, 55% Germany, 55% Italy, 51% Canada, 45% Japan, 45% US, 41% United Kingdom, 33% Russia). Our July 2015 survey found that an overwhelming majority of Californians (79%) view global warming as a very serious (52%) or somewhat serious (27%) threat to California’s future economy and quality of life. Concern about global warming has remained high over the last 10 years. Since 2005, when PPIC began asking this question, more than seven in 10 Californians have said global warming poses a very or somewhat serious threat.
- Most younger, Latino, and lower-income Californians see global warming as a very serious threat.
Across racial/ethnic groups, Latinos (63%) are the most likely to see global warming as a very serious threat, while whites are the least likely to hold this view (43%). Across age groups, Californians age 18 to 34 (59%) are the most likely to see global warming as a very serious threat. Younger Californians are also more likely to favor state action on the issue (73%). Californians with household incomes under $40,000 are much more likely than those with incomes over $80,000 to see global warming as a very serious threat (61% to 45%).
- A majority of Californians say global warming’s effects are already occurring.
Since 2005, when PPIC first began asking Californians when the effects of global warming will begin to happen, majorities have said the effects have already begun. In our July 2015 survey, six in 10 Californians (62%) say that the effects of global warming have already begun, while one in four (24%) say they will happen in the future. Just 10% say the effects will never occur. Californians (62%) are slightly more likely than adults nationwide (55%, March 2015 Gallup Poll) to say the effects have already begun.
- There are stark partisan differences on the threat and effects of global warming.
Democrats (66%) and independents (51%) are far more likely than Republicans (26%) to see global warming as a very serious threat to California’s economy and quality of life. Also, while nearly three in four Democrats (73%) say the effects of global warming have already begun, only 37% of Republicans say the same. Indeed, nearly one in three Republicans (31%) say the effects will never happen.
- Most Californians support independent state efforts to reduce global warming.
More than six in 10 Californians (64%) favor California making its own policies, independently of the federal government, to address global warming, while 28% are opposed. Majorities have supported the state making its own policies since we first asked this question in July 2005. Again, partisan differences emerge, with Democrats (75%) and independents (65%) much more likely to support state action than Republicans (43%). Since 2006, the share of Republicans who favor state action has fallen from 62% to 43%.
- Few Californians believe state action on global warming will lead to a loss of jobs.
In PPIC’s December 2015 Statewide Survey, few Californians (19%) believe that state actions to combat global warming will cause there to be fewer jobs in the state. Indeed, a plurality (45%) expect state action to result in more jobs, while a quarter (27%) do not think state action will affect the number of jobs. Across parties, Republicans (39%) are the most likely to expect fewer jobs as a result of state efforts.