How Californians Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Global Warming

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A recent study by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) shows that Californians are less than concerned with global warming than in years past. Moreover, their diminishing concern is increasing faster amongst those mellowed-mooded Republicans. A press release reports of the survey:

Most residents (66%) support the 2006 California law (AB 32) that requires greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced to 1990 levels by 2020. Support has declined 7 points from July 2008 (73%) and 12 points from 2007 (78%). The decline is sharpest among Republicans (57% 2008, 43% today).

This left-coast prescience is good news for us right and middle-coasters still freaked out by the likelihood of environmental cataclysms brought on by global warming.

Actually, the report states that Californians are more likely to say the effects of global warming are already occurring than the rest of the nation (64% versus 53% respectively). The PPIC speculates that Californians have let their attention wane as wildfires no longer ravage their landscapes and the states profound economic concerns loom more largely. As hinted by a recent NY Time article, issues like health care are usurping the national consciousness of global warming and the Climate Bill.

Above distractions notwithstanding, the most unfortunate figures concern how partisanship can so dramatically affect opinions regarding something as non-partisan as global warming. With Governor Schwarzenegger’s approval at an all time low, and Obama’s taking a hit as well, concern has fallen along clear party lines. For example, the PPIC states:

Across parties today, solid majorities of Democrats (76%) and independents (61%) agree, compared to just 36 percent of Republicans. And one in three Republicans (34%) say global warming will never happen, an increase of 10 points since last year (24%).

This last figure might make some of us more liberally-disposed bemoan the Right’s groupthink, but the fact is the numbers universally show decreased concern; this amongst a population already more aware of global warming's imminent danger. It seems to indicate that global warming and the imperative to make drastic societal changes are far from entrenched in the national consciousness.

Via New York Times

Read More On California:
Focus Earth: March 28, 2009: California Drought and Green Tech Revolution
Climate Change Could Extinguish Two-Thirds of California's Plant Species
California Prepares for Rising Sea Levels

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