News & Events

November 28, 2014

Environics Institute and David Suzuki Foundation release new survey on climate change

As part of its ongoing Focus Canada public opinion research program, the Environics Institute partnered with the David Suzuki Foundation this fall to ask Canadians about the issue of climate change, to determine how perceptions have changed (or not) over the past 12 months.

As the scientific evidence for global warming continues to mount, the Canadian public is increasingly coming to accept this reality and take the issue seriously. A majority is clearly concerned about climate change, and about the potential consequences in terms of weather events, environmental impacts and in particular about what it may mean for future generations. One out of 10 Canadians remains a climate skeptic who questions the science, with this proportion largely unchanged since 2007.

As with most major issues, Canadians look first to their governments to take a leadership role in addressing climate change through laws, regulations and policies, rather than placing their faith in voluntary changes by industry or consumers. Confidence in government leadership has waned somewhat over the past two years, but no other sector at this point is seen as ready to take over the challenge.

The public’s assessment of the federal government’s performance on addressing climate change relative to other countries is surprisingly positive (given the significant bad press Canada has been receiving over recent years), and this view has remained remarkably stable since as far back as 2007. This likely reflects the fact that few Canadians pay close attention to government policy in this area, either in Canada or abroad. At the same time, there is widespread public support for Canada pledging significant new actions on the climate change front (voiced by close to nine in 10 Canadians), in the context of international meetings and efforts to find an international solution to the problem.

Canadians are looking for leadership from their governments on climate change, but few are informed about what policies might be the appropriate response. Opinion is divided about whether citizens should help shoulder the cost through higher taxes and prices for some products and services, and public acceptance of this idea has declined over the past year.

At the same time, the B.C. carbon tax has enjoyed sustained public support since its introduction in 2008, and this has strengthened over the past 12 months. Moreover, modest majority support continues for the introduction of a B.C.-style carbon tax in other provinces, most notably in Ontario and Atlantic Canada.



Detailed Tables

Op-ed in Globe and Mail

For more information contact Keith Neuman

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