Canadians fear climate change: poll

September 5, 2007

OTTAWA—Canadians are now expressing alarm about climate change in greater numbers than in any developed nation except France, according to a poll released Tuesday.

Unless politicians respond with aggressive action to curb greenhouse gas emissions, they risk paying a heavy price, warns the president of the polling firm that commissioned the survey.

New data from the Environmental Monitor research program show that two-thirds of Canadians now rate climate change as a “very serious” problem, up from 57 per cent last year.

That ties Canadians with France and Mexico for fourth globally in their level of concern, according to parallel polling in 20 nations done this year by GlobeScan. “Canadians are among the most concerned citizens in the world today about the seriousness of climate change,” says Doug Miller, GlobeScan’s president.

The only people expressing greater concern live in developing nations—Brazil, where 84 per cent rate climate change a very serious problem, Chile and India. By comparison, barely half of Americans hold that view.

This is the first time concern about climate change in developing nations has exceeded that in the developed world, Miller says.

In Canada, worry is escalating “because there hasn’t been that equivalent announcement of government action,” he says.

Conducted twice yearly since 1987, the Environmental Monitor is Canada’s longest-running poll on the environment. The latest survey of 2,006 Canadians was conducted July 12 to 30 and has a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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