Canadians are way out in front of their government in wanting to deal with Climate Change.
That pretty much sums up the finding from two polls which will be released next week.
In one survey fully three-quarters of Canadians are embarrassed by the nation’s conduct when it comes to the the threat of Global Warming.
Even in Alberta, which has the most to lose when it comes to dealing with the issue, 65% of respondents agreed with a statement that “it’s embarrassing that we are not doing more to curb emissions.” Support for the view favouring more action was highest in Quebec, at 86%, reported the Globe and Mail.
Jim Hoggan, president of Hoggan and Associates who took the poll, said the Conservatives have been out of step with public sentiment on climate change virtually from the moment they took office in 2006. In his opinion, this represents a potential vulnerability for the government.
Early on, the Conservatives repudiated the Kyoto Protocol, the current international agreement on controlling greenhouse-gas emissions, to which Canada is a signatory. And rather than develop an independent Canadian position on combatting global warming, Mr. Prentice has said he wants to tailor domestic action on emissions to policies developed in the U.S. by the Obama administration.
“I still kind of scratch my head and wonder why the Conservatives don’t have a strong sustainability platform, because I think they’d get a majority hands down and they won’t have this issue” working against them, Mr. Hoggan said.
Even though the economy is in the doldrums, a substantial majority said that in tough times governments and business need to make a “top priority” of both economic and environmental issues, such as climate change. That view was held by 67% nt, compared to the 33% who felt that during a slump, the best course would be to fix the economy first.
“People, they don’t buy this old argument that we have to take care of jobs now and once we have the prosperity, we can take care of the environment,” he said.
The polling also found an overwhelming majority of the public shares the assessment of the scientific community that global warming is a major threat to the planet. A total of 72% thought the impacts of climate change “are going to be very serious,” compared to 28% who agreed with the statement that such concerns “are exaggerated.”
There was also strong support for the view that “most scientists agree that human activity is the primary cause of climate change,” a position held by 62% of the public, compared to the 38% who felt there was “still much debate” among researchers.
The survey also found a great deal of public skepticism about corporate environmental claims, with 83 per cent believing that most company pronouncements on their sustainability claims “are more for public-relations purposes than actual results.” Only 17 per cent thought companies that talk about sustainability “are truly committed to achieving results.”
The survey was conducted on line in April and involved 4,368 Canadians. The company hadn’t released the details earlier to allow the businesses that purchased the in information to use it before it was divulged publicly, according to Mr. Hoggan.