Poll: Overwhelming Support for Climate Action, Holding Polluters Accountable

Most Californians are concerned about climate threats and continue to support the state’s clean energy laws to reduce global warming emissions, including requiring oil companies to pay for their pollution just as other major polluters already do.

That’s according to a poll released today by the Public Policy Institute of California. It shows that the majority of Californians want the state to act right away on implementing its laws to reduce climate pollution, rather than wait for the economy and job situation to further improve – 80 percent of respondents think global warming is a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” threat to the economy and quality of life for California’s future, and 76 percent endorse the state law requiring oil companies to produce lower emissions fuels or pay pollution fees.

While the poll also shows reduced public support if oil companies pass on their pollution costs to consumers, the poll missed a key part of California’s clean energy story. California’s clean energy laws are significantly lowering our spending on transportation fuels and on pollution-related health costs. We are paying less to power our homes and businesses and meet our daily transportation needs. That’s because these laws are leading to cars that drive farther on a gallon, more fuel competition and cheaper fuels like clean electricity, and better access to public transit – all of which help us save money at the pump, and create a cleaner environment and better future for our kids. If the respondents had been told about the benefits, many would have given a different response.

As I’ve highlighted on previous blogs, California’s climate policies are reducing our dependence on gasoline, saving households on average $380 annually next year and growing to $850 in savings in 2020 as implementation continues. And don’t forget: state law requires that the oil industry pollution fees are reinvested back into the economy in ways that further cut pollution and expand our transportation options, with a minimum 25% targeted in disadvantaged communities hit-hardest by pollution. 

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According to a study sponsored by the American Lung Association of California and the Environmental Defense Fund, our state’s clean fuel policies are also projected to save another $8 billion in pollution-related health costs for Californians by 2025.

Even without knowing the full benefits of our clean energy laws, today’s poll makes clear that Californians want action on climate and a cleaner environment. California’s clean energy laws are doing just that. 

About the Authors

Simon Mui

Director, California Vehicles and Fuels, Energy & Transportation program

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