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Age, political ideology divide Canadians over cause & threat of climate change

With Canada’s place recently reconfirmed among the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters, the Trudeau government finds itself under increased pressure and scrutiny in the wake of a United Nations report stating this nation will fall short of emission reduction goals.

But with just over one month until the implementation of a federal carbon tax ostensibly aimed at reducing Canada’s carbon footprint, new public opinion data from the Angus Reid Institute finds one-in-three Canadians skeptical about whether climate change is a fact caused by human activity.

Demographic differences between Canadians on age and political ideology largely drive differences on this quarrelsome issue.

For example, 18 to 34-year-old Canadians appear to carry a heightened sense of gravity than older respondents regarding the threat from climate change.

And while more than four-in-five past Liberal and New Democrat voters believe climate change is a fact, (81% and 85% respectively), this drops to just one-third of those who voted for the Conservative party in 2015.

More Key Findings:

  • Half of Canadians (49%) say that they have noticed significant changes to their local climate. Another 37 per cent say that they think they have noticed changes, but not major ones
  • Nine-in-ten Canadians say that they believe the global temperature is rising. This slips to 71 per cent among past Conservative voters and rises to near unanimity among past Liberals (95%) and New Democrats (96%)
  • While three-quarters of Canadians say that something can be done to reduce climate change globally, they are less convinced they, themselves, can have an impact. Overall, six-in-ten (61%) say they feel they can personally help – this sentiment is highest in Quebec (80%)


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