Funding a Clean and Equitable Energy Transition: Lessons from California

California has been investing in a clean energy transition for decades, and, in recent years, has increasingly targeted funds to under-resourced and marginalized communities. Other states and the federal government have likewise stepped up. There is much to learn from California’s considerable experience. Our report series analyzes California’s decision-making structures — the processes that determine priorities and the mechanisms that turn broad justice principles into action. Our analysis and recommendations are intended to improve California’s programs, help emerging state programs consider the strengths and weaknesses of California’s institutional landscape, and influence emerging federal funding mechanisms.

PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians and the Environment

Californians overwhelmingly support climate action at the state level, and state residents widely back offshore wind and oppose offshore drilling, as they understand that protecting coastal areas is important for the state economy and quality of life. 83% of Californians support allowing wind power and wave energy projects off the California coast. 77% of Californians recognize that climate change has contributed to California’s recent extreme weather events. 73% of Californians support the state law that requires California to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2030. 68% of Californians support the state law that requires 100 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources by the year 2045. 66% of Californians support the state’s cape-and-trade system.

Poll: Many Californians report being personally impacted by last year’s unusually heavy precipitation

More than two-thirds of California voters expect extreme weather swings to become more common due to climate change, and Californians are deeply concerned about the water situation in the West. 81% of California voters say that it’s important for the state to continue enforcing water conservation policies for residential, commercial, and agricultural water users - including 52% who say it’s “very” important. 69% of California voters expect extreme swings in the state’s weather to become more common because of climate change. 60% of California voters support reducing water deliveries from the Colorado River.

New California Poll Shows Voters in Swing Districts Want Climate Action

California voters, including those in swing congressional districts (CDs), understand that climate change impacts the weather and the state economy. 61% of California voters say that climate change is either a “crisis” or serious problem, including 53% in swing CDs. 60% of California voters say that climate change plays a major role in extreme weather events, including 53% in swing CDs.

The Green New Deal in the States – Part 2

California is one state that has made steps toward a state Green New Deal. As the deadline for legislation approached on the last evening of August, 2022, the California legislature passed five laws embodying major climate protection and justice measures, including restrictions on oil and gas drilling, 100% renewable energy by 2045, cutting overall emissions, extending the Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors, and legislation directing the California Air Resources Board to set regulations for carbon capture, utilization, and storage projects. Most of these policies were opposed by a coalition of business groups, including the California Business Roundtable and California Chamber of Commerce. They were joined by most building trade unions in a formal alliance called Common Ground which had helped kill previous climate legislation. Such opposition was overcome in part by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s last-minute decision to support the climate bills after staying quiet and not backing them until mid-August. Other states have also explored GND-style state policies in recent years, including Maine, New York, and Mississippi. California, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington are also part of the Under2 Coalition which brings together over 270 sub-national governments representing 1.75 billion people and 50% of the global economy committed to climate protection policies.

Poll: Majority of Latino Voters in Arizona Support Clean Energy Investments in the Build Back Better Act to Create Jobs and Fight the Climate Crisis

Latino voters in battleground states and districts overwhelmingly support the Build Back Better plan’s climate and clean energy provisions. All of the 11 Build Back Better provisions tested in the poll have overwhelming support (76%+), and several climate and clean energy provisions rank among the most popular elements of the bill whether looking at overall net support or intensity (“strong support”). Particularly appealing provisions include: lowering energy costs by making homes, schools, buildings, and vehicles more energy efficient (89% total support, including 55% strong support); creating millions of additional clean energy jobs in fast-growing industries like wind and solar (87% total support, including 52% strong support); making oil and gas companies pay their fair share for the pollution they create (86% total support, including 55% strong support); providing tax incentives to make clean energy sources like wind and solar power widely available at lower costs (86% total support, including 51% strong support; rewarding electric utilities that generate more electricity from clean energy sources like wind and solar (85% total support, including 50% strong support). (The poll sampled Latino voters statewide in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, and Nevada, as well as Latino voters in competitive U.S. House districts in California and Texas).

Poll: NextGen Releases New Primary Election Exit Poll from Change Research Finding Voters Prioritize Action on Climate and the Environment As #1 Issue

Most California voters want to see the state address climate change “immediately”, and climate change is by far the top issue for California Democrats. The poll found that an outright majority (55%) believe that California should take action on climate change “immediately,” while just one-fifth (20%) believe that the state can wait instead of acting immediately and just one-quarter (25%) oppose climate action over the next few years. The poll also found that climate is a uniquely important issue for Democratic voters in particular: 57% of Democratic voters in California say that climate and the environment are among their top three issue priorities, “twice as high as any other issue.” Additionally, even in the midst of high inflation and economic unease, the poll shows that California voters prefer a candidate who is focused on climate change and the environmental issues facing the state over a fossil fuel-backed candidate who sets these issues aside in order to focus on the economy.