Amid current concerns about the cost of living, the economy, and health care, communicators may not know how to frame their efforts to drum up support for action on climate change and biodiversity loss among receptive audiences, let alone those with a history of hostility to climate action.
Economic readiness may be one answer, according to a recent national survey by EcoAnalytics. The survey, conducted April 18-23, found that a large majority of Canadians, including those of all political stripes, believe “Canada needs to move quickly to ensure our economy is prepared and can prosper when demand for fossil fuels drops as countries strive to meet their commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
In all, 72% of respondents were in favour of moving quickly, while just 28% said that “Canada should wait and see what happens to global demand for fossil fuels before making any major changes that would impact our economy.”
As the graph shows, support for action included the majority of respondents who identified as supporters of the Conservative Party of Canada (54%). No less than 85% of federal NDP supporters and 75% of federal Liberals favoured economic readiness. As well, 78% of women and 62% of Albertans preferred the “readiness” option over “wait and see.”
And that’s not all. The findings suggest that use of a readiness frame could even bring those who consider action of climate change and biodiversity loss a low priority into a conversation about progressive policies and measures.
For example, in response to another question on the April survey about priorities, one in five favoured postponing action on climate change and biodiversity loss “for a year or two”, until other pressing issues such as the high cost of living and war in Ukraine had been addressed, and one in ten favoured taking no action at all. Yet nearly half of the postponers (47%) and passive-ists (48%) were in favour of Canada “moving quickly” to ready its economy for competition in a post-carbon world.
The online survey conducted by Environics Research had a sample of 1,037 Canadians, 18 years of age and older. Quotas for age, gender, and region and weighting of the data ensured the results were representative of Canada’s actual population.
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James Boothroyd is Project Director of EcoAnalytics.