Californians are more likely to believe that global warming is happening than residents of nearly every other state – but that doesn’t mean all Californians agree about it.
Belief that global warming is real ranges from around 65 percent in rural, mountainous counties like Shasta, Lassen, Tehama and Modoc to more than 80 percent in Bay Area counties like Alameda, San Francisco and San Mateo, according to new survey estimates by researchers at Yale University.
Voting patterns are a strong predictor of what proportion of a county’s residents believe in global warming. Counties with a relatively high percentage of Hillary Clinton voters uniformly are more likely to believe that global warming is happening. The opposite is true of counties with a high percentage of Trump voters.
Separately, most Californians don’t believe global warming will harm them much, the survey found. But most do believe that global warming will harm future generations.
The estimates also found that many Californians falsely believe climate scientists are in broad disagreement over whether global warming is real. In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the leading international network of climate scientists, released an assessment report that concluded that the existence of global warming is “unequivocal.” Even so, 45 percent of Californians said they do not believe there is a consensus among climate scientists that global warming is occurring.
The Yale estimates are based on a nationwide survey of more than 18,000 respondents in 2016.
Data Tracker is a regular feature that breaks down the numbers behind today’s news. Explore more trends at sacbee.com/datatracker.