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A new poll shows that Californians are a bunch of tofu-eating, wheat grass-drinking, hybrid-driving hippies who want a carbon tax. More or less.

Despite sometimes electing Republicans like Arnold (a relatively Green Republican, admittedly) Californians have a pretty Lefty-liberal and environmentally conscious reputation. Much of it is earned, but some of it is by virtue of having nice weather (less energy consumption from heating and air conditioning) and coasting on attitudes formed in the 1960s and 70s.

California is by far the most populous state in the US, but consumes considerably less energy than Texas, the second largest state. By 2009 the percentage of California’s energy from renewable sources such as solar, wind, geothermal and biomass was 11.6% with another 9.2% produced by large hydro plants. ‘Goverator’ Arnold signed bills to increase renewable goals to 20% by 2010 and 33% by 2020. I don’t think the first one was met, but let’s hope they are on track towards the second. At least the 2020 goals have been further systematized by the phoenix-like Governor ‘Moonbeam’ Jerry Brown.

See here more info on California’s renewable energy usage.

More than 60 percent say we’re already seeing the effects of climate change (up 7 percentage points since last July). The most common concerns are wildfires, air pollution and drought.

–San Francisco Chronicle

In recent news California’s Air Resources board voted to reaffirm plans to create a carbon market. This despite findings by a Public Policy Institute poll that 60% of Californians actually support a carbon tax. That’s more than the 54% that support the current cap-and-trade plan. But to expect public opinion to trump the desires of big business would be naïve.

Furthermore, despite the huge proliferation of cars in California, 84% of residents polled support stricter fuel-efficiency standards for automakers. Maybe automakers could like, uh, make more electric cars like the ones they leased and then took back and crushed in the middle of the desert in the 1990s.

Read more on the poll’s results in the San Francisco Chronicle.