Only 2% of Canadians Deny Climate Change

We recently completed a national study in partnership with the International Performance Assessment Centre for Geologic Storage of Carbon Dioxide (IPAC C02), detailed in today’s edition of the National Post. A few summary findings include:

  • Although belief that climate change is occurring is common, Canadians are divided on what they believe the causes are and what the priorities should be in addressing a changing climate.
  • A majority (54%) believe that climate change is occurring partially due to human activity and partially due to natural climate variation and one third (32%) believe that it is occurring due to human activity. One in ten (9%) believe that climate change is occurring due to natural climate variation. Just two percent (2%) of Canadians do not believe that climate change is occurring at all.
  • No single priority for addressing climate change was chosen by a majority of respondents, indicating disagreement among Canadians. One quarter or more believe that promoting cleaner cars running on electricity or low-carbon fuels (35%), stimulating the development of industries that supply environmentally friendly technologies and services (29%), and raising the efficiency of industrial processes (27%) should be priorities to address climate change.
  • Canadians are also divided on how effective they believe that Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), a technology which involves capturing carbon dioxide and storing it underground, would be in addressing climate change. However, most agree that capturing and storing carbon dioxide should be compulsory when building a new coal (59%) or natural gas (57%) power plant. Despite this, there is considerable concern regarding the risks associated with the technology. At present, one quarter would be very worried (27%) and a further one third (34%) would be fairly worried if a CO2 storage site between 1.5 and 3km below the ground was located within 5km of their home.
  • Survey responses were collected between May 29th and June 11th 2012. Additional survey completions were sought in Saskatchewan so that differences in opinion of residents of the province could be compared with those of residents of other parts of the country. A random, representative sample of Canadian residents is used for the Canadian results (total of 1,550 responses) but the full dataset including the extra survey completions in Saskatchewan is used for regional comparisons.