Survey finds Sacramento residents agree humans contribute to climate change

Majority agreed across the political spectrum


Robert Moon

View of the American River from Sac State’s Guy West Bridge. Sac State’s Institute of Social Research partnered with Valley Vision to complete a survey on the Sacramento region’s view on climate change.

Robert Moon

According to a recent survey by Sacramento State, a majority of residents in the capital region believe that humans have directly contributed to climate change.

The survey, conducted by Sac State’s Institute of Social Research and environmental research firm Valley Vision, polled 985 individuals in Sacramento and seven other nearby counties and found that 88 percent of respondents believe the fact that human activity is a factor in climate change.

The survey divided these results by political affiliation and found that 75 percent of Republicans, 90 percent of independents and 99 percent of Democrats agree that humans have contributed to climate change. 

Evan Schmidt, senior director of Valley Vision and manager of Valley Vision’s public polling series, explained that the decision to do a survey on the environment came about while designing another survey.

“The survey that we did before the environmental poll was a livability poll, so it was a really broad-ranging survey about quality of life issues,” Schmidt said. “In the scope of that survey, we had the environment because that’s a really important aspect of that and we found that there was just so much that we wanted to ask about related to the environment that it was making our survey way too long.” 

Shannon Williams, director of Sac State’s Institute of Social Research, explained the process of conducting the survey.

“It is a survey panel,” Williams said. “The panelists are recruited based on a random sample of the region and depending on who responds we weight their responses to ensure they are reflective of the demographics in the region.”

The survey was conducted in December of 2018, just months after the Camp Fire. Schmidt said respondents viewed wildfires as the highest risk related to climate change.

“Smoke from wildfire was definitely on people’s minds, we had just experienced something so dramatic,” Schmidt said.

RELATED: Nearby Camp Fire prompts closures, other action from Sac State. 

Students also weighed in their thoughts about climate change.

“I think the only thing we can do is take action so that it doesn’t continue,” Sam Boots, a nutrition major said. “(We need to) work harder and not be pollutants, be sustainable and help the environment.”

However, not everyone is confident that we can change things.

“I don’t think it’s a matter of what (we can do about climate change), I think it’s a matter of will we,” Brian Golson, a psychology major said. “Money seems to be the driving force of whether or not anything gets done about this and I think monetary gain is pretty much over everything else in this day and age and nothing is going to be done about it until it’s too late.”