I’ve said it before; I’ll say it again: Strong bi-partisan leadership in California puts state residents ahead of the public opinion curve when it comes to climate policy. It makes you wonder what actions the rest of the country would get behind if Cali-style forward-thinking was coming as loud and as clear from more leaders on the national stage.

A new poll, released just as the California Air Resources Board gears up to unveil the most aggressive energy policies to date to reduce global warming pollution (California’s AB 32: Global Warming Solutions Act), including Americans first cap on greenhouse gas emissions, shows broad public understanding that fixing climate change goes hand in hand with energy stability and economic prosperity. David Metz, polling firm Fairbanks, Maslin, Maullin & Associates Senior Vice President said, “From a pollster’s point of view, these numbers are definitive – California voters want strong state action to address global warming.”

Indeed. The policy package, aimed to transform the state’s energy profile and cut pollution, gets 79 percent support among state voters. A solid 58 percent say they support the climate policies even if they increase the cost of gas, electricity and some consumer goods. (Party lines haven’t been entirely obliterated; that’s 71 percent of Democrats, 65 percent of Independents and 37 percent of Republicans.)

More highlights from the survey:

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    • 73 percent of voters surveyed believe California can grow the economy while reducing global warming pollution.
    • 86 percent of voters polled say encouraging the development of technological innovation and renewable energies are very or extremely important.
    • 83 percent say they are ready to make personal changes to reduce global warming.
    • 90 percent of voters surveyed say that in developing policies to address global warming it is very or extremely important to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
    • 87 percent of voters polled support requiring energy companies to produce one-third of their electricity from renewable sources.
    • 75 percent say it is extremely or very important to save consumers money by helping them to decrease household energy use.
    • 85 percent of voters say it is very or extremely important to reduce the long-term cost of energy.
    • 79 percent say that global warming is a serious threat to California’s economy and quality of life.
    • 81 percent say it is very or extremely important to reduce air pollution.

    The poll was commissioned by Next 10, a nonpartisan nonprofit research organization. “Californians understand that clean energy combined with energy efficiency measures, which the state has pioneered for decades, mean their total energy bill will go down,” said F. Noel Perry, founder of Next 10. “Voters recognize that when California innovates – as it has in the high tech and biotechnology industries – it has the power to change the world.”



    (corrected some typos and run-ons: 6:00 pm, 6/23/08—AF)