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Californians show broad support for state's climate goals in new poll

Senate leader Kevin de Leόn, left, Gov. Jerry Brown and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon after lawmakers approved new climate legislation this month. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)
Senate leader Kevin de Leόn, left, Gov. Jerry Brown and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon after lawmakers approved new climate legislation this month. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Public support for the state’s battle against global warming remains strong and growing, according to a new poll from the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.

Seventy-two percent of California adults back last year’s law requiring the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. Fifty percent said climate policies would create more jobs, the highest level since the question was first asked seven years ago.

A majority of Californians said they didn’t know anything about the state’s cap-and-trade program, which lawmakers recently voted to extend until 2030. But once they were read a description of cap and trade, 56% said they supported the program, another record high for the poll.

“Most Democrats and independents and sizable percentages of Republicans are in favor,” said Mark Baldassare, president of the Public Policy Institute of California.

Even though a majority of Californians also expect gasoline prices to increase, the results indicate that Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers are on firm political ground as they push forward with ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Both the governor and the Legislature have a 51% approval rating on environmental issues.

The poll included 1,708 Californian adults, and it was conducted from July 9 to July 18. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

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