Opposition Poll Still Shows Californians Overwhelmingly Support New Clean Energy Targets in SB 350

Credit: Chart courtesy of the Public Policy Institute of California

More than two-dozen California companies this week added their support to California's Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015 (SB 350, De León and Leno), which would establish long-term clean energy targets to reduce our dependence on petroleum, grow renewable energy, and increase energy efficiency.

The announcement comes just one week after Small Business California, which represents more than 5,000 employers and 3.6 million small businesses, endorsed SB 350. These endorsements - and many others - recognize that California's leadership in cultivating homegrown clean energy and improving productivity through greater efficiency has been a boon for (not a drag on) the economy.

But you'd never know it from reading a hopelessly skewed poll released yesterday by the California Business Roundtable, which has close links to the oil industry. The group used the survey to attempt to cast doubt on Californians' support for SB 350 by linking attainment of its goals with skyrocketing energy costs.

But even with the spin, the poll still found "overwhelming support" for the goals of SB 350:

  • 70% support cutting petroleum use in half;
  • 78% support getting half of our energy from renewable sources; and
  • 74% support doubling energy efficiency in buildings by 2030.

Those results are in line with the (more credible) July survey by the Public Policy Institute of California and a recent poll by Latino Decisions.

The sky hasn't fallen (but our energy bills have)

The false premise underlying the Roundtable's claims sound a lot like the oil industry's current deluge of ads and mailers warning about California's impending economic collapse were SB 350 to pass (no surprise: Chevron is on the Roundtable's board). They also sound like the ads and mailers back from 2006 warning that AB 32 would "practically shut down the state." And the ads and mailers warning that including transportation fuels under California's statewide cap on carbon pollution would send gas prices soaring (and on and on and on...).

But no amount of smoke and mirrors can obscure the reality: Californians spend less money on energy as a result of our clean energy policies. That's thanks to cars that go farther on a gallon, more energy choices, and more efficient homes and businesses. SB 350 will ensure those savings continue to grow.

As the Legislature prepares to vote on SB 350 and its companion bill, SB 32 (Pavley), which would set aggressive new carbon reduction targets in 2030 and 2050, it will be essential to separate fact from fiction. Even when responding to questions in opposition polls, Californians have shown themselves more than capable.

Now it's time for our elected representatives to do the same.


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