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Most say they can and should do more personally.

As the country enters an election campaign, the latest Abacus Data – Clean Energy Canada poll reveals that 9 in 10 voters see climate action as important or urgent.  And most people think they both can and should do more personally to help combat the threat.

  • Across the country, 50% say action to reduce emissions is urgent, 40% important. These views are quite consistent across the country. They differ in Alberta, where 35% say urgent and 49% say important.

  • Fully 88% say they personally can do a little bit (30%), a fair bit (38%) or a lot more (20%) to reduce their impact in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. And 88% say they should do more, including 25% who say they should do a lot more, 36% a fair bit more, and 27% a little more.  Regional differences on these questions are pretty mild, but generational differences are notable: younger Canadians are more likely to say they can and should do more to reduce emissions compared to older people.

  • Most people want to see government policy of some sort to encourage emissions reduction. Given a choice between taxes, incentives, both or neither – 37% prefer incentives, followed by 35% who say both tools should be used. Ten percent prefer using only taxes, not incentives. And 18% reject the use of either policy approach. Once again, on this question, regional differences are mild.


“Worry for the future of the planet is on the mind of voters as they consider the direction they choose for the country this fall.  People want government policies to deal with the problem, and they also see themselves as having a personal responsibility to do more.  The market for climate denial is small, and the willingness to go along with using tax measures along with incentives is broader than some might think.”

Bruce Anderson, Chairman, Abacus Data

“It’s encouraging to see how many Canadians believe they both can and should do more. Enabling citizens to do more requires sustained federal policies and programs, both taxes and incentives. Building on the federal policies we already have—from pricing pollution and providing rebates to making electric cars more affordable and accessible—can help the large majority of Canadians who want to do more, do just that.”

Dan Woynillowicz, Policy Director, Clean Energy Canada


The survey was conducted online with 1,500 Canadian residents aged 18 and over, from August 23 to 28, 2019.

A random sample of panellist were invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.

The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size 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.

Dan Woynillowicz and Bruce Anderson are available for interviews.

Clean Energy Canada (cleanenergycanada.org) is a climate and energy think tank housed at the Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University. We work to accelerate our nation’s transition to a clean and renewable energy system.


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Trevor Melanson
Communications Manager

Bruce Anderson
Abacus Data

Good Decisions Require Good Data.