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Canadians: Paris Accord a good idea, Trump wrong to exit

June 7, 2017

By Bruce Anderson & David Coletto

The vast majority of Canadians (84%) say President Donald Trump made the wrong call in exiting the Paris Climate Change Accord, and exactly the same number say Canada should remain committed to the deal.

Unusually, these views cross partisan lines.

Even a majority of Canadian Conservative voters, who have generally been opposed to measures to fight climate change, are convinced that Trump’s decision was unwise (61%) and that Canada should stay in the deal (62%).

A large part of the reason why people support climate action is to prevent environmental calamities and to do the right thing by future generations. But increasingly, our research is revealing that more and more people see a shift from non-renewable fossil fuel energy as part of a sound economic strategy for the future.

In this survey, by a margin of 3 to 1 Canadians say they think the economies in the world that do the best in the future will be those that shift to renewable or cleaner energy, rather than those who use lower-cost fossil fuels for as long as possible.

This view is even held by a small majority (53%) of Conservative voters and a substantial majority of people living in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

UPSHOT

According to Bruce Anderson: “Donald Trump, while intending to do the opposite, has possibly done more to galvanize support for climate action than his predecessors in the White House.

Mr. Trump is deeply unpopular in Canada (we’ll have a release on this later this week) and his arguments against the Paris Accord (it’s too costly for America, we need to use more coal, etc.) are probably helping clarify for people what side of this argument they don’t want to be on.

This week in Parliament, only days after Mr. Trump’s announcement, Canada’s Conservative Party reversed field and voted in support of the Paris Accord, for the first time. As incoming leader Andrew Scheer had previously voted against the Accord, it’s not a stretch to believe that the fact and the tone of Mr. Trump’s leadership made it even more uncomfortable for the Conservatives to stand outside the global mood in support of the Accord.

But possibly the most important finding in this survey is the growing feeling among Canadians, including many Conservatives and Albertans, that an energy transition is not only good for the environment but probably sensible economic strategy too.

According to David Coletto: “There are few Donald Trump fans in Canada and his decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Accord on climate change did very little to gain new ones. The overwhelming majority in Canada think it was a bad decision and a similar number think Canada to should press ahead and remain committed to the Accord.

As Bruce said, Trump probably did more to mobilize action for action on climate change in opposing the Accord than any international leader could have done arguing in favour of it.

In Canada, support for our government to press ahead is broad and deep. The audience for political leaders who doubt climate change is happening is small (and shrinking).

Trump fashions himself a master of deal making, but there’s little evidence that his idea of renegotiation with the rest of the world is taking root.”

Listen to a quick audio briefing on the results here:

METHODOLOGY

Our survey was conducted online with 1,518 Canadians aged 18 and over from June 2 to 5, 2017. A random sample of panelists was invited to complete the survey from a large representative panel of over 500,000 Canadians.

The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association policy limits statements about margins of sampling error for most online surveys. The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of 1,518 is +/- 2.6%, 19 times out of 20.

The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

ABACUS DATA INC.

We offer global research capacity with a strong focus on customer service, attention to detail and value-added insight. Our team combines the experience of our Chairman Bruce Anderson, one of Canada’s leading research executives for two decades, with the energy, creativity and research expertise of CEO David Coletto, Ph.D.


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