PPIC Survey says Californians favor renewable sources, are not as likely to want to pay more for electricity

by | Aug 5, 2020

The Public Policy Institute of California’s released an environmental survey (PPIC Eviro Survey) that shows that Californians strongly support policies on environmental protection, but not everyone is willing to pay more for their energy services.  When asked if they would be willing to make major lifestyle changes to address global warming, respondents overwhelmingly agreed. But in the same poll, when asked if they would be willing to pay more for electricity generated by renewable energy to reduce global warming only 47% were willing to pay more for electricity.

Also muddying the situation is that a robust 77% agreed with the state’s plan to have 100% of electricity from renewable sources by 2045. But less than half are willing to pay for higher electricity costs.

Key Highlights:

  • 39% expect that the state doing things to reduce global warming would lead to more jobs.
  • 50% expect that state action would lead to higher gasoline prices.
  • 47% are willing and 52% are not willing to pay more for electricity from renewable sources.

A disconnect seems to exist between “wanting to do more for the environment,” and understanding that to “do more,” means “greater costs.”

Another curious problem seems evident and that is that there seems to be very little understanding about what the CARB cap and trade program is all about.

Despite seemingly extensive media coverage since the program’s inception, 54% of the poll respondents said they knew nothing about the cap and trade program. When it was explained to them as a way to limit GHG’s, those polled supported the idea by almost two-to-one. When asked an additional follow-up if it were important to spend revenues gained from cap and trade to improve environmental conditions in low-income communities, support was strong with 78% answering it was either very important or somewhat important.

Open-ended questions in polls are necessary to drive responses, but in this case, it seems that too many people have no idea that there is a cause and effect coming from the efforts to reduce emissions to zero.  Higher energy costs. We wonder what a poll will look like when that reality is here.

Jesus Arredondo

Jesus Arredondo

Jesus Arredondo is an Energy Industry Analyst and former State of California official.
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