Poll Finds Canadians Expect Federal Action Against Emissions

By Roy L Hales

screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3-43-47-pmWhat do the people of Canada think? The oil rich provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan want to build more pipelines to carry diluted bitumen from the oil sands. The Liberal government of British Columbia dreams of  developing a “trillion dollar” LNG opportunity. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears to be appeasing them, in return for provincial support for a national plan to curb Canada’s C02 emissions. The goal is to reduce our emissions to 30% below the 2005 level by 2030, but the concessions inherit in Trudeau’s collaborative approach could subvert any attempt to tackle climate change. A new poll finds Canadians expect Federan action against emissions.

Poll Finds Canadians Expect Federal Action Against Emissions

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Given Canada’s ongoing reluctance to address its’ rising emissions, it is significant that 71% of the respondents agreed, or somewhat agreed, with the statement “A changing climate presents a significant threat to our economic future.”

An even higher percentage (76%) believe ,”Having a plan to meet Canada’s climate change targets to reduce emissions from burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas is more important than having all provincial and territorial premiers agree with the plan.”

A similar number (77%)  agreed the provinces have a responsibility to curb their emissions.

“The appetite to move forward on environmental issues is quite strong—whether it be strong leadership by the Government of Canada to make sure Canada meets its climate targets, or carbon pricing,” said Nik Nanos, whose research company was commissioned by Clean Energy Canada.

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Two thirds (66%)  “support or somewhat support” federal intervention “if the provinces and territories aren’t doing enough.”

“The public is sending a clear signal: They’re tired of bickering among politicians. Canadians want to see provinces do their part, but they also want the federal government to pick up the slack if the provinces don’t deliver the necessary results,” said Merran Smith, Executive Director of Clean Energy Canada.

Carbon Pricing

The only specific action respondents were asked about was carbon pricing.

According to Clean Energy Canada’s press release, “A majority of Canadians (59%) support or somewhat support a price on carbon emissions, and 62% support or somewhat support a minimum carbon price that applies across Canada.”

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“A price on carbon pollution across Canada is a huge step forward and an essential component of a credible climate plan. It’s the kind of leadership Canadians want and expect from the federal government.

“Seven of the world’s 10 biggest economies are already pricing carbon, according to the World Bank. Whether through a tax or a cap, carbon pricing is the cost of doing business in today’s world. Pricing carbon pollution is the new normal.

“Today’s announcement gives investors everywhere in Canada a clear signal: the cost of carbon pollution is going up and there is a market for climate solutions. That predictability will accelerate Canada’s clean energy transition, drive innovation and help us succeed in a global clean energy market that’s seeing record growth,” said Smith

The Poll

Between September 24 and 27, 2016, Nanos Research conducted a random-digit-dialling survey of 1,000 Canadians, 18 years of age or older. The results were geographically stratified to be representative of Canada. The margin of error is ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Conversations were initiated with the statement, “This fall the provincial and territorial governments and the Prime Minister are getting together to discuss a plan to meet Canada’s climate change targets. Do you support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or oppose the following?”

Top Photo: Montreal as seen from Mont Royal by Artur Staszewski via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)

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