Three Quarters (75%) Say Canada Needs to Do More to Address Climate Change

Most Canadians are a Long Way Off from Ditching their Gas-Guzzling Vehicles. Gas Would Have to Rise to $2.40/litre to Convince the Average Canadian to Switch to a more Fuel-Efficient Alternative

The author(s)

  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs, Ipsos
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Toronto, ON, December 28, 2018 — Three quarters (75%) of Canadians ‘agree’ (31% strongly/44% somewhat) that Canada needs to do more than it is currently doing to address climate change, and that Canada has an obligation to lead on climate change globally (75% agree, 30% strongly/46% somewhat). But according to a new Ipsos poll, Canadians are still very far off from giving up their gas-guzzling vehicles for an eco-friendlier alternative.

The price of gas would have to rise to $2.40/litre before the average Canadian would switch to a more fuel efficient car, or find alternate modes of transportation. This suggests that the more modest carbon taxes being proposed won’t be terribly effective at inducing many Canadians to make meaningful change. For most Canadians the tipping point is over $2/litre. Only a minority (37%) would take action below $2/litre.

Despite the economic hardship that low oil prices cause for the oil and gas industry and those who work in it, a majority (68%) of Canadians believe that low oil and gas prices are a good thing for Canada, not a bad thing (32%). While most Albertans believe low oil and gas prices are a bad thing (61%), a majority in every other region of the country thinks low prices are a good thing.

There is a belief among the majority (61%) of Canadians that in order to combat climate change, the solutions will cause economic hardship in Canada (16% strongly agree/44% somewhat agree). But there is also some skepticism that Canada’s efforts can have a meaningful impact:

  • Six in ten (58%) agree (15% strongly/42% somewhat) that no matter how hard we try, we won’t be able to significantly reduce carbon emissions over the next decade.
  • Four in ten (42%) agree (13% strongly/29% somewhat) that since Canada is a relatively small contributor to the world’s pollution, there’s not much we can do here to make a difference. A majority (58%) disagrees (23% strongly/35% somewhat) with this argument.
  • One in three (34%) agree (11% strongly/23% somewhat) that people who talk about climate change are overreacting. Most (66%) disagree (32% strongly/34% somewhat) that they are overreacting.

Canadians have ranked climate change and the environment as the 4th most important issue determining how they will vote in the next federal election (19% place it among their top-three issues), behind healthcare (32%), taxes (30%) and the economy (27%). This sets up the 2019 election as one that will, at least in part, likely be fought on carbon taxes.

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between December 7 to 12, 2018, on behalf Global News. For this survey, a sample of 2,001 adults living in Canada was polled. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Darrell Bricker, PhD
CEO, Ipsos Global Public Affairs
+1 416 324-2001
Darrell.Bricker@ipsos.com

The author(s)

  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs, Ipsos

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