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In 2018, the Portland Clean Energy Fund (PCEF) campaign secured a landslide ballot measure victory in Portland, establishing a multi-million dollar municipal fund that addresses climate, economic, and racial justice by providing funding for renewable energy projects, job training and apprenticeship programs, and regenerative agriculture. Last year, we got to look “under the hood” with PCEF Steering Committee members to cover the history of the campaign, what PCEF does, and how the community-led coalition was able to win at the ballot box. 

In a follow-up webinar, we came back together to share new developments on the victory and cover topics including:

  • How has PCEF been implemented, and how is it helping the community build political power? 
  • What lessons have been learned since winning the legislation, and what challenges and insights does that bring? 
  • What would it take to replicate this winning model in your own context and municipality?

Survey of California voters’ views on climate change, renewable energy, infrastructure, and transportation found that a majority of Californians believe the state should act more quickly to address climate change, see economic promise in renewable energy; and support a range of policies to move away from fossil fuels.

  • 67% believe that the State should act quicker to address climate change.
  • 75% believe climate change is an "extremely," "very," or "somewhat serious" problem facing California and 38% categorize it an “extremely serious problem”. 
  • A majority of Californians support a range of policies to move away from fossil fuels, including providing energy upgrades to schools, libraries, and community centers; funding clean transit infrastructure, wildlife protection, and water resilience through the issuing of bonds; and policies which bring clean energy to homes.
  • A solid majority of Californians also support a variety of zero-emission transportation policies, including ones that would cut pollution near ports and warehouses and transition the state to a zero-emissions truck and bus fleet within the next 15 years. 
  • By an 11-point margin, voters see more harms from fossil fuel infrastructure than benefits and half of California voters (50%) say that they would be less likely to vote for their state legislator if that official took campaign funds from fossil fuel companies.

  • Americans' views on whether they would buy an electric car are split relatively evenly, with 30% of respondents saying they "would consider it," 33% saying they "might consider it," and 37% saying they would not consider it.
  • When asked why they would not consider buying an electric car, top answers people gave were they feeling like electrics cars "cost too much" (63%), "can't go far enough on a charge" (60%), and that there aren't enough charging stations on the road (61%). 
  • Partisanship also appears to play a role, with respondents who identify as Democrats a lot more likely to at least say they'd buy an electric car than those who identify as Republicans, regardless of whether they live in rural, urban, or suburban areas.
  • 64% think recent announcements from car makers that they are shifting to making mostly (or all) electric cars is a "good idea." 
  • While many more people (41%) think U.S. policy should encourage people to buy electric cars than to buy gasoline cars (11%), a plurality of respondents (4*%) believe the U.S. policy should "not take a position."

A broad majority young Americans understand anthropogenic climate change, but many are struggling to identify individual practices they can take to improve global sustainability, according to a survey of 15-25 year olds on climate change, environmental justice, and related public policy initiatives.

  • 38% call climate change a crisis, 31% say it’s a problem, 12% a concern, 9% a non-issue, and 8% label it fiction.
  • While 44% of young Americans are either "very" (21%) or "somewhat" (23%) optimistic the world will successfully address climate change, 47% are either "somewhat" (12%) or "very" (25%) pessimistic
  • Respodents expressed a strong desire to do their part in mitigating climate change, but many were unsure how:
  • 27% of respondents say they have reduced their usage of single-use plastics, 14% take alternate transportation, and 12% have curtailed electrical use. Another 14% have participated in a march or protest, and 10% have volunteered to create change. 67% have shared climate information on social media. (89% report they get the majority of their news from social media.)
  • 67% of respondents report they do not believe U.S. residents are equally protected against exposure to pollution and other ecological hazards and 37% characterize environmental justice in the U.S. as "extremely inequitable."
  • The survey also found significant support for many of President Biden’s environmental actions.

Minnesotans across the political spectrum strongly support transition to 100% clean energy sources, like wind and solar. 

  • 61% believe the transition to clean energy will benefit Minnesota’s economy, and 68%, (including 51% of Republican) believe it will have a positive impact on Minnesota’s environment.
  • 66% of Minnesotans also support legislation to achieve a 100% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Support strong across the state, with 68% of voters outside the seven-county metro area supporting elimination of greenhouse gas emissions, compared with 66% within the metro.
  • 67% of respondents also said they’re very worried or somewhat worried about water pollution.

  • 50 % of voters believe climate change poses a “critical threat” to the country’s vital interests in the next decade, an increase of 10 percentage points from a June 2017 poll and up 6 points from a March 2019 survey.
  • Climate concern remains highly partisan. The share of Democrats who call the climate change threat critical increased most substantially over the past four years, jumping 16 points to 75%. But the share of Republicans who said the same has barely budged, increasing from 20% to just 21%.
  • Voters were more likely to view other potential threats as critical than they were climate change, such as cyberattacks on the United States (69%), domestic terrorism (65%), the nuclear programs of North Korea and Iran (55% and 54%, respectively) and white supremacist groups (51%). 
  • 60% of voters believe the U.S. should be a part of the Paris Agreement vs. just  22% who said it should not -- up slightly (albeit not significantly so) from the 2017 poll (at 57% yes and 24% no after President Trump pulled the United States from the treaty.)

Michigan State University (MSU)'s seventh Food Literacy and Engagement Poll found most Americans are not aware of the relationships between our diets and the planet.

  • 41% say they never or rarely seek information about where their food was grown or how it was produced
  • 23% of Americans mistakenly believe that transportation of food produces the most greenhouse gas emissions in food production, even though it only accounts for 6%.
  • And 61% thought reducing pesticide use would limit the food system’s impact on climate change. (While the use of pesticides can cause other environmental and public health impacts, it is not a big contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, compared to other factors.)
  • Only 44% of respondents were aware that increasing the consumption of plant-based foods could have a significant impact on the release of greenhouse gases.
  • 41% of Americans are likely to purchase foods that look and taste identical to meat, but are artificially produced, up from 33% in February 2018
  • 87% say they take steps to reduce the amount of food wasted in their home.
  • 56% trust academic or university scientists; 50% trust government scientists; and 48% trust industry scientists when it comes to the health and safety of food.