Quirks & Quarks

Canadians Uninformed about Climate Change

A recent survey of Canadians suggests a significant number still is uncertain about the causes of climate change, unconcerned about its risks, and unwilling to pay for solutions.

Opinion poll indicates uncertainty about causes, risks of and solutions to climate change

A dump truck works near the Syncrude oil sands extraction facility near the city of Fort McMurray, Alberta on Sunday June 1, 2014. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press )
A large proportion of Canadians are uninformed – even mis-informed -- about climate change and its risks. Furthermore, in the public mind, there's significant uncertainty about what we can do about it – or whether we can do anything about it at all.

That's the message from a major opinion poll conducted by Dr. Erick Lachapelle, from the Political Science Department at Université de Montréal, and his colleagues. Just before the recent federal election, they surveyed more than one thousand Canadians and found that a significant minority expressed uncertainty or doubt about the causes of climate change, any many felt no particular concern about its risks, particularly in the near future.

When it came to taking action on climate change, most had no grasp of the essential policy tools that are being implemented, like cap and trade, and a significant number were unwilling to consider paying more, in any form, to reduce emissions and increase the use of renewables.  

Related Links

- Dr. Lachapelle's report Feeling the Heat (pdf)
- Université de Montréal release