A large majority of Canadians are worried about climate change and believe it’s the reason for increasing extreme weather, a new national poll suggests.
But the Leger poll finds that only a small fraction of respondents cited climate change as the top problem facing Canada today, and many say they are likely to change their behavior only if it does not cost.
The polling company asked more than 1,500 people about their views on climate change in an online survey conducted between September 8 and 10.
The poll, which is weighted to account for demographic differences, cannot be a*signed a margin of error because online surveys are not considered truly random samples.
This comes at the end of the worst wildfire season in Canadian history.
Globally, temperatures reached record highs in July, while Canadians in every province and much of the North were directly affected by the fires, if not by the fires directly, then by the thick smoke from these fires which covered towns and villages thousands of kilometers away.
More than 100,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes between May and September and hundreds of homes burned, including about 200 in suburban Halifax in the spring and almost as many in West Kelowna, British Columbia, in August. .
In this context, 72 percent of Canadians surveyed said they were worried or very worried about climate change and 21 percent said they were not very worried. Only seven percent said they were not worried at all.
Respondents from Quebec were the most likely to be worried or very worried, at 84 per cent, while Albertans were the least likely to be worried, at 55 per cent.
Younger Canadians are more concerned about the climate than older Canadians, and women are more worried than men.
Wallet issues far outpaced climate change as the top issue for Canadians in the poll, with only seven percent of respondents citing climate change as the top issue facing the country.
The largest proportion – 33 percent – said inflation was the main problem, 16 percent chose housing affordability and 8 percent highlighted rising interest rates.
Sixty-nine percent of respondents said climate change is caused by human activity, while 21 percent said they think it is just part of a natural phenomenon. More than 80 percent of Quebec residents surveyed blame people for climate change, compared to 51 percent in Alberta.
In fashion now
Nearly three-quarters of Canadians surveyed believe extreme weather events are linked to climate change, and about two in three believe we will see more extreme weather in the future.
Sixty-one percent of those surveyed said they had already changed some of their daily behaviors due to concerns about climate change and 68 percent said they planned to make changes to their daily lives within the next five coming years.
However, only 40 percent said they would make changes to their daily lives if it came at a cost.
Environmental activists have long argued that Canadians need to think not only about the costs of changing our behavior to slow climate change, but also the costs of not acting.
Last spring, the federal government released an updated a**lysis showing that each tonne of greenhouse gas emissions emitted costs Canada $261 this year. These costs include the effects of extreme weather on things like food production, human health, and disaster repair bills. The a**lysis suggests that by 2030 this cost will reach $294 per tonne.
The most recent inventory shows that Canada emitted approximately 670 million tonnes in 2021. The current target aims to reduce this figure by more than 230 million tonnes per year by 2030.
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