May 14, 2019

As Canada’s political parties prepare their election platforms, the latest Clean Energy Canada – Abacus Data nationwide poll explored opinions about what should be included in a plan to combat climate change. The results showed:

• All 8 of the possible components tested found a majority say that they should ideally or must be included in a climate plan.

• At the top of the list of “must haves” are vehicle pollution standards, investments in renewable energy, incentives to spur clean technology innovation, and phasing out the use of coal for energy.

• More than 90% also feel that a plan to reduce emissions should include incentives to help people buy and use EVs, spending to expand public transit, and cleaner fuel regulations.

• On the question of whether a policy should include a price on pollution, 34% said this must be in a plan, and another 44% said it should ideally be part of an emissions reduction plan.

Looking underneath the surface of national opinion for some additional insights, especially when we compare Albertans and Conservative Party oriented Canadians, two groups where differences of opinion on climate change have been most striking in the past:

• On phasing out coal, Albertans are less enthusiastic (just 29% say it must be in a climate plan) but broadly of the view that it should ideally be (49%). Eight in ten Conservative voters say a coal phase out must (34%) or should be (47%) part of a climate plan. Among “Conservative opportunity” voters (those who say they would consider the CPC but aren’t currently planning on voting CPC, 43% say a coal phase out must be and 49% should be in a climate plan.

• On pricing pollution, majorities in every region say this must or should be in a climate plan, led by BC (84%) and with Alberta lower than anywhere else at 69%). 59% of Conservative voters and 82% of Conservative opportunity voters believe a price on pollution is a should have or must have. Supporters of other parties are even more convinced.

• On investments in renewable energy, more than 90% across the country say this must or should be in a climate plan. In Alberta, 48% say must and 46% say should ideally. Among Conservative voters, 37% say must and 50% say should, and among Conservative opportunity voters results are 50% must be and 43% should be in a plan.

• On incentives to support clean technology, more than 90% across the country say this must or should be in a climate plan. In Alberta, 48% say must and 49% say should ideally. Among Conservative voters, 40% say must and 53% say should, and among Conservative opportunity voters results are 53% must be and 43% should be in a plan.

• On investments to expand public transit, more than 85% across the country say this must or should be in a climate plan. In Alberta, 38% say must and 50% say should ideally. Among Conservative voters, 32% say must and 56% say should, and among Conservative opportunity voters results are 39% must be and 52% should be in a plan.

• On investments in to make it easier to buy and use electric vehicles, more than 85% in every region say this must or should be in a climate plan. In Alberta, 34% say must and 52% say should ideally. Among Conservative voters, 33% say must and 49% say should, and among Conservative opportunity voters results are 38% must be and 51% should be in a plan. The youngest voters are 8 points more likely than the oldest voters to say that this must be in a climate plan.

• On regulations to deliver cleaner fuels, more than 90% in every region say this must or should be in a climate plan. In Alberta, 35% say must and 56% say should ideally. Among Conservative voters, 30% say must and 59% say should, and among Conservative opportunity voters results are 39% must be and 54% should be in a plan.

• On regulations to ensure vehicles are manufactured to emit less pollution and be more fuel efficient, 95% or more in every region say this must or should be in a climate plan. In Alberta, 46% say must and 49% say should ideally. Among Conservative voters, 42% say must and 51% say should, and among Conservative opportunity voters results are 50% must be and 46% should be in a plan.

QUOTES

“With strong support across the political spectrum for a range of existing measures to tackle climate change, there appears to be little public support for moving backwards. As all parties begin to build plans to address climate change, the question is not what should be undone—but what more can we do. Given the impacts already being felt in Canada, from recent floods to forest fires, it’s clear that climate change should be a ballot box issue, and that all parties need to put forward credible, comprehensive plans to address it.”

—Dan Woynillowicz, Policy Director, Clean Energy Canada

“A great deal of the discussion about climate policy has centred on carbon pricing, but these results reveal not only that many people believe a price on pollution should be part of a climate plan, but that they would like to see a range of other policies adopted as well. Another common misperception may be that conservative-leaning voters and Alberta voters are opposed to a range of measures that could help combat climate change – on the contrary, these numbers underscore that most people, Alberta and Conservative voters included, expect a solid could plan must or should ideally include all of the elements tested.”

—Bruce Anderson, Chairman, Abacus Data

METHODOLOGY

The survey was conducted with 2,515 Canadian residents aged 18 and older from April 23 to April 29, 2019. A random sample of panelists was 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 +/- 1.8%, 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.

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