Vote Compass: Most feel government should do more to combat climate change

A large majority believe the government should do more to control greenhouse gas emissions, according to the latest results from Vote Compass.

80 per cent of respondents believe government should do more to reduce GHGs

Canada has committed to a 30 per cent reduction of greenhouse gases to 2005 levels by 2030, ahead of an international climate change conference in Paris later this year. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

While environmental issues have received relatively little oxygen from the main candidates this election campaign, results from Vote Compass suggest many people feel the government should be more aggressive in addressing climate change.

A large majority believe the government should do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while a smaller majority is open to putting a price on carbon to protect the environment, according to the latest findings from Vote Compass, CBC's voter-engagement tool.

The findings are based on 632,005 respondents who participated in Vote Compass from Aug. 29 to Oct. 11.

Eighty per cent of respondents overall said the government should do more to reduce GHGs. Only four per cent said Canada should be doing less, while 15 per cent thought the country was doing enough as is. One per cent of respondents didn't have an opinion.

The Vote Compass data seems to suggest the impulse to reduce greenhouse gas emissions crosses party lines.

Predictably, Green Party supporters were most in favour of greater measures to reduce GHG emissions (94 per cent), followed closely by supporters of the Bloc Québécois (93 per cent), NDP (92 per cent) and the Liberals (89 per cent). Conservative-identifying voters were less enthusiastic, but still in favour of greater measures (53 per cent).

Concerns about carbon pricing

Opinions were more divided on the issue of carbon pricing, which essentially means imposing a cost on individuals and corporations that emit greenhouse gases.

Many economists believe it is the most effective way of reducing GHGs. 

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has long maintained that any sort of carbon pricing strategy is simply a tax grab.

"Anybody who tells you that a carbon tax is an environmental policy is trying to pull the wool over your eyes," Harper said in April.

While 55 per cent of respondents agreed that Canada should impose a price on carbon, 21 per cent were neutral and 20 per cent disagreed. Six per cent had no opinion.

Responses were even more polarized along party lines.

When asked whether Canada should put a price on carbon, 71 per cent of Green Party voters were in favour, followed by supporters of the NDP (67 per cent), Bloc Quebecois (66 per cent) and Liberals (64 per cent). Conservative voters were considerably less open to the idea, with only 29 per cent supporting the idea of a carbon tax.

Developed by a team of social and statistical scientists from Vox Pop Labs, Vote Compass is a civic engagement application offered in Canada exclusively by CBC News.The findings above are based on 632,005 respondents who participated in Vote Compass from Aug. 29 to Oct. 11.

Unlike opinion polls, respondents to Vote Compass are not randomly selected. Similar to opinion polls, however, the data are a non-random sample from the population and have been weighted in order to approximate a representative sample. Vote Compass data have been weighted by geography, gender, age, educational attainment, occupation, religion, religiosity and civic engagement to ensure the sample's composition reflects that of the actual population of Canada according to census data and other population estimates.


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