A majority of California voters prefer President Barack Obama\u2019s stance on global warming and energy policy to those of Mitt Romney, according to a state poll released Aug. 1. On these two issues, Obama holds a 21 percent lead. \u201cCalifornia\u2019s likely voters trust Obama over Romney on global warming policy by a wide margin--even though a majority also say that the federal government is not doing enough to address this issue,\u201d stated Mark Baldassare, Public Policy Institute of California president. While 71 percent of voters polled support the state\u2019s climate protection law--AB 32--the partisan divide has grown. In 2006, when former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the law, 65 percent of adults were in support. \u201cToday, Democrats (84%) and independents (65%) favor the law, but Republicans are divided (44% favor, 48% oppose),\u201d according to PPIC. Few of those polled were familiar with the state\u2019s carbon cap-and-trade program. After hearing a brief description, 53 percent say they favor it while 36 percent are in opposition. Of those familiar with the trading scheme, 62 percent oppose it, while 35 percent are in favor. Among those who have heard little about the program, 57 percent are in favor. \u201cThe cap-and-trade program has generated controversy because of concerns that companies in low-income areas will buy permits to exceed their emissions caps, worsening health risks for residents,\u201d according to the survey\u2019s findings. A large majority of residents, 78 percent, support increasing federal funding to develop wind, solar, and other renewables. Obama supports extending the federal wind production tax credit set to expire. Romney is against an extension. Congress is debating whether to continue the program. * * * * * The southern half of California, like most of the nation, is seeing intense precipitation more often due to global warming, according to a report Environment California released July 31. Big rain and snow storms--the type which can cause floods--not only are happening more frequently, but when they do they are dropping more precipitation, according to the report, which analyzed weather data across the nation dating back to 1948. \u201cThis isn\u2019t just in our imaginations,\u201d stated Bernadette Del Chiaro, director of global warming programs with Environment California Research & Policy Center. \u201cThis research shows that the weather is becoming more extreme.\u201d Based on an analysis of state data from the National Climatic Data Center, the report found heavy downpours that used to happen once every 12 months on average now happen every 10.7 months on average statewide. The mechanism is simple, according to the report. Warmer air holds more moisture, providing more atmospheric water for storms. Over the last 50 years, the average U.S. temperature has increased by 2 degrees Fahrenheit, notes the report. Today, it notes, the average water content of the atmosphere is increasing at the rate of 1.3 percent each decade. Consequently, on average across the nation the largest storms are occurring about once every nine months instead of once a year--like they did back in 1948--and producing 10 percent more precipitation. In some locations, big storms are occurring even more often, such as New England, which has seen their frequency increase by 85 percent. In California, areas south of the San Francisco Bay Area have seen both the frequency and intensity of large storms increase. To the south, the frequency of large storms has increased by 35 percent and those storms have brought a 7 percent increase in precipitation. North of the Bay Area, however, the story is the opposite, with a 26 percent decrease in the frequency of large storms and a 7 percent decrease in their precipitation. It appears that Northern California is experiencing a trend similar to what\u2019s seen in Oregon, which is the only state in the nation that has not experienced increased frequency of large-scale storms, but instead has undergone an overall decrease. * * * * * While electricity sales have declined slightly in California since the onset of recession, Board of Equalization data show that gasoline sales have fallen sharply due to economic stress, higher gas prices, and higher mileage cars reducing greenhouse gases from the state\u2019s transportation sector. Sales in the state\u2019s 2011-12 fiscal year ending June 30 totaled 12.1 billion gallons compared to 15.8 billion gallons in fiscal 2006-07, just before the financial crisis struck. That\u2019s a 23 percent decline, with the steepest fall off occurring last fiscal year. In fiscal 2010-11 Californians burned 14.7 billion gallons of gasoline. Energy Information Agency data show about a 50 percent decline in gasoline consumption nationwide since the beginning of the recession. Transportation accounts for 38 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions in California, according to the latest California Air Resources Board data. Nationally, transportation is responsible for about 25 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, show U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data.