Contrary to science, most Californians blame global warming for drought

jerry brownEven though recent scientific studies show that global warming has nothing to do with California’s multi-year drought, a new survey shows that nearly two-thirds of residents believe it does. The statewide survey, which was conducted in mid-July by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) and released July 29, cited that the most pressing issues facing Californians were the current drought and water supply.

Notably, 66 percent of Democrats are more likely than Independents (51%) to call the threat of global warming to California’s future “very serious,” while only 26 percent of Republicans hold that view. Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO, said “The threat of global warming to the state’s future is a shared belief among inland and coastal residents and Californians across racial and ethnic groups. But there are persistent partisan divisions on climate change.”

Sixty-four percent of respondents said that global warming has contributed to the drought, while “28 percent say it has not.” Of the 64 percent, there was also a deep divide along party lines: “78 percent of Democrats say global warming has contributed to the drought and 62 percent of Republicans say it has not.” When residents were asked how concerned they were on the possible impact of global warming on droughts, “84 percent of residents say they are concerned (50% very concerned, 34% somewhat concerned) about droughts that are more severe.”

It’s highly likely that much of this scientific misinformation and fear stems from Gov. Jerry Brown attributing global warming to California’s drought (it’s not) and a complacent media, his most recent being July 21. Brown is also on record for blaming climate change on everything from so-called ‘extreme weather’ to wildfires to mankind’s eventual extinction.

During a recent visit at a Vatican climate summit last week, Brown said, “God is not mocked…And what St. Paul said in reference to God, we can also say about God’s creation. We have heard what we’re doing to that creation, what a trillion tons of CO2 and greenhouse gases will do. And that text that God is not mocked is not susceptible to compromises, to regrets. It’s inexorable, it’s absolutes.”

Reason Magazine reports that Brown “stepped up the ad hominem attacks on his climate-policy critics — accusing them of spending millions of dollars promoting propaganda and of ‘falsifying the scientific record’ (even though some scientists who promote global warming also have been accused of manipulating data.)” Embracing the hell-and-brimstone tenor of the Old Testament, Brown thundered that the Earth has already reached its “tipping point,” and the climate is changing too rapidly to reverse course. “Humanity,” Brown announced at the summit, “may face extinction.” Wow.

Brown also trotted out the misleading trope that well-funded Republican politicians and business interests are spending “billions on trying to keep from office people such as yourselves and elect troglodytes and other deniers of the obvious science.” Keep in mind that 13 corporations have just signed the White House’s American Business Act on Climate Pledge Monday, pledging at least $140 billion toward the president’s green agenda. One of the companies, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, pledged to close down 75 coal-fired power plants, likely passing on the costs to consumers.

The survey also asked about the Governor’s water restrictions, which mandate a 25 percent statewide reduction in water use, “Californians are most likely (46%) to say this action does the ‘right amount’ to respond to the drought, while 36 percent say it is ‘not enough’ of a response.” Only 11 percent think it is too much.

Most of the respondents also said they supported state and local measures to save water, even though 64 percent say they’re unsure what the targets are they are trying to achieve. That’s because “conservation mandates vary widely, from a low of 4 percent required savings, all the way up to 36 percent.”

In general, over half (55%) of likely voters approve of Gov. Brown’s job so far, and 48% approve of how he handles environmental issues. Residents, however, have a much lower approval rating (32%) of those working in the California legislature.

Californians are generally supportive of Brown’s water-restriction policies (even if the mandates are murky), the state’s efforts to limit emissions using a questionable cap-and-trade scheme, and other proposals now passed into law. As is the case in most surveys, a majority of respondents favored positive environmental goals, like clean air, less pollution, and pristine water.

But those goals become increasingly difficult to achieve when a Governor resorts to name-calling, dictatorial edicts, and wrath-of-God retribution. Behavior that any pope should denounce immediately.