Survey: Canadians express support for government leadership in climate policy

Canadians are expressing increased support for government leadership in climate policy, concludes a 9 part survey conducted by Environics Institute in partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation. 61% of Canadians said their country should sign a new international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. This poll is released at a critical time as Prime Minister Trudeau will be representing Canada at the climate talks in Paris next week, from November 30 - December 11, 2015.

This survey examined Canadian public opinion on climate change, and was conducted through 2,004 phone interviews from August 4 -16, 2015. The results of the 9 questions are summarized below:

Is the science conclusive?

Public views about climate change have been impacted by new evidence and disruptive weather patterns. 61% of Canadians believe the reality of climate change and agree that is primarily caused by human activity.



Reality of climate change

Though 6 in 10 Canadians are convinced climate change is occurring and is a result of human activity, less than 3 in 10 Canadians believe they are witnessing the effects of climate change in their local communities. This is despite increasing evidence local of climate change and record breaking temperature all over Canada.

Government leadership on climate change 

The government is where (48% of) Canadians look to for leadership in addressing climate change over industry (18%) and consumers / individual lifestyle (13%). The view of government importance has decreased over time however, suggesting that the Canadian population may be losing confidence in their government’s capacity for climate leadership.

International climate change agreement

An increasing majority of Canadians want their country to sign a new international climate change agreement, even if this may affect jobs and consumer prices. Strong supporters outweigh strong opponents by more than three to one.


How strongly do Canadians care?

Most Canadians express an opinion about this type of international climate change agreement, but do they really care whether or not if it happens? The survey reveals that supporters are more likely to feel strongly about this issue than opponents.


Public support for carbon-based pricing

A clear and growing majority (60%) of British Columbians endorse their provincial carbon tax, and a similar proportion elsewhere in the country would support such a tax in their own province to address climate change.



Shift to renewable energy

An increasing majority of Canadians believe it is possible for their province to shift its energy resources from fossil fuels to renewable power.

View the full report and survey data here.



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