Consider this puzzle: in a state where 64% of adults believe that the effects of global warming have begun to happen and 56% say that they support action on climate change even if it brings increased cost, California has undertaken very few of the measures needed to adapt to climate change. There are no levees protecting the airports and critical infrastructure from sea level rise. The recent fires exposed the failure to do controlled burns on state and private lands. And while people responded admirably to the drought, efforts to implement recycled water systems are held up by the “yuk factor” and communities are reluctant to share water resources with one another. Dealing with climate change requires resolving a number of collective action problems and getting communities for pay now for future uncertain benefits. We will illustrate these problems and possible solutions with studies we have undertaken at the Bill Lane Center over the last three years.
Bruce Cain is an expert in U.S. politics, and particularly the politics of California and the American West. A pioneer in computer-assisted redistricting, he is a prominent scholar of elections, political regulation, and the relationships between lobbyists and elected officials.