SACRAMENTO, Calif. —
California's climate is historically volatile, but climate change is only increasing this volatility and the majority of Californians want to see meaningful change.
A recent poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) showed 3 out of 4 Californians think it's necessary to take steps immediately to counter the effects of climate change.
“Californians are definitely, when you look, compared to the nation, more supportive. They're more aware, they're more concerned,” said Dean Bonner with the PPIC.
The results align with the overall attitude of a state looking to lead the way in climate policy.
“That speaks to kind of California being a leader in climate change. California is a leader in the global sense, as well as California can take action separate from the federal government to make policies and Californians really are supportive of that,” said Bonner.
Climate change continues to be a polarizing issue. It wasn’t always the case though, and the survey trends over the last 20 years reflect that. While support for change among Democrats has increased, it has fallen for Republicans.
“Over the last 20 years, we've seen a case where, you know, the parties really have diverged not only in opinions in our surveys, but kind of in general. We had a Republican governor in 2006, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was a really strong proponent of climate change, and actually was the governor during some of these early bills that were put in place," said Bonner.
Californians face a wide swath of dangers from devastating wildfires to record heat to droughts and even flooding, as was the case this year.
While these issues will always plague the state, climate change will only work to make them worse and more unpredictable, and the PPIC survey shows Californians are ready to take more action.