While a large proportion of Canadians identify climate change as the most important global issue, they’re still confused about whether it’s caused by human activity or natural cycles, according to the latest polling by Vancouver-based Insights West.
“Almost half of Canadians (45%) select climate change to be the first, second, or third most important issue facing the world today among a list of other important issues—including 28% who choose it as their number one issue,” the company stated in a release last week. “Most Canadians believe they are not doing enough to combat climate change, but express a strong willingness to make future sacrifices to save the planet.”
Climate change led the list of issues on respondents’ top-three list by far, Insights West reported, followed by threats to democracy at 29%, food and water security at 27%, terrorism at 24%, and poverty at 23%. [The pollsters’ analysis does not point out that each of those issues, in one way or another, is linked to and accentuated by climate change.—Ed.] British Columbia led Canada’s regions in its climate concern, with 57% of respondents placing it in their top three, and Canadians aged 18-34 were the most concerned age group, at 60%. Only 12% of Conservative voters prioritized climate change as an issue, compared to 65% of both Liberals and New Democrats.
The research pointed to a disconnect between Canadians’ understanding of climate science and their sense of their own climate awareness. While 100% of respondents considered themselves aware of the issue, and 90% rated themselves very or somewhat familiar with it, 53% “feel that climate change cannot simply be blamed on human activity alone,” the pollsters noted. One-tenth of Canadians, 21% of Albertans, and 22% of Conservative voters identified themselves as full-on climate deniers.
More than two-thirds of respondents were optimistic that climate change can be solved, 34% thought they were already doing enough to address the issue, and 14% said they were doing too much.