61 Percent Canadians Favour Climate over Pipelines

9 04 2015
61% of Canadians say protecting the climate more important than pipelines and tarsands

National poll shows Canadians want leadership on climate protection
61%EMBARGOED UNTIL 6 A.M. APRIL 8, 2015

Ottawa, Canada – Canadians believe climate disruption is a moral issue and that climate protection trumps development of the tarsands and pipelines. They want politicians to control carbon pollution and give citizens a say in energy decision-making.

Canadians believe:

  • Protecting the climate is more important than building the Energy East pipeline and further developing the tarsands (61% agree/strongly agree).
  • Building the Energy East pipeline to export tarsands oil is unethical because it is harmful to the environment (by a 3 to 1 margin that 56% agree/strongly agree; 18% disagree/strongly disagree).

For provinces along the Energy East Pipeline route, results were:

  • 71% of Québecers, 67% of Ontarians and 60% of New Brunswickers believe protecting the climate is more important than building the Energy East pipeline and further developing the tarsands (agree/strongly agree).
  • 68% of Québecers, 55% of Ontarians and 57% of New Brunswickers believe that building the Energy East pipeline to export tarsands oil is unethical because it is harmful to the environment

When asked to consider their views on TransCanada’s Energy East Pipeline project, 80% of Canadians said they were familiar with the project. Overall, more Canadians oppose the Energy East pipeline project (47%) than support it (36%); 18% were unsure.  For provinces on the Energy East Pipeline route, 51% of Québecers, 42% of Ontarians, and 44% of New Brunswickers oppose the project.

We asked respondents to rate the importance of climate protection initiatives in their decision to vote for a particular political party and its candidates in the upcoming federal election. Total responses for important and very important were:

  • 72% want to see a plan for creating jobs in the clean renewable energy sector.
  • 58% want a commitment to phase out coal, oil and gas and replace it with renewable energy.
  • 60% said a promise to legally enforce a cap or limits on carbon pollution.
  • 78% want citizens to have a say in decision-making about projects like the tarsands and Energy East.

In addition, 85% of Canadians believe that TransCanada should be required to translate all of its project related documents to allow Francophone Canadians to review the project.

Poll respondents believe, by a margin of almost 6 to 1 (70% agree/strongly agree versus 12% disagree/strongly disagree), that Canadians should be global leaders in protecting the climate by reducing our energy consumption. Canadians also believe that individuals are morally obligated to take action in their daily lives to reduce carbon pollution (76% agree/strongly agree).  Women’s perspectives are significantly different from those of men. As examples, results for agree and strongly agree were:

  • 74% of women believe that protecting the climate is more important than building the Energy East pipeline and further developing the tarsands, compared to 52% of men (national average 61%).
  • 68% of women believe that building the Energy East pipeline to export tarsands oil is unethical because it is harmful to the environment, compared to 43% of men (national average 56%).

With respect to the next federal election, women were also more enthusiastic about climate solutions, with 71% saying that a federal promise to legally enforce a cap or limit carbon pollution was important or very important, compared to 49% of men (average 60%). Almost 72% of women would like to see a commitment by politicians to phase out coal, oil and gas and replace it with renewable energy; 47% of men feel the same way (average 58%).

Women constitute 67% of those Canadians who have yet to make a decision regarding their federal election vote, according to this poll. “Women have the power to move Canada forward on climate protection. If Canada is going to step up to the plate, women need to be at the forefront of what is clearly an ethical issue with serious implications for our children,” says Louise Comeau, Executive Director of Climate Action Network Canada.

Poll results suggest that climate protection, energy policy and energy decision-making processes (such as reform the National Energy Board) are likely to be strategic issues in the upcoming election.  If federal politicians want to do well, federal politicians should heed voter intention results in this poll, including:

  • 79% of Liberals; 68% of New Democrats, 88% of Greens, 54% of Conservatives, 57% of the Bloc Québecois, and 79% of Undecided voters agree or strongly agree that Canadians have a duty to be global leaders in protecting the climate by reducing our energy consumption.
  • 82% of Liberals, 62% of New Democrats, 97% of Greens, 39% of Conservatives, 88% of the Bloc Québecois, and 53% of Undecided voters agree or strongly agree that protecting the climate is more important than building the Energy East pipeline and further developing the tarsands.
  • 70% of Liberals, 74% of New Democrats, 91% of Greens, 19% of Conservatives, 76% of the Bloc Québecois, and 82% of Undecided voters feel it is important or very important for federal politicians to commit in the upcoming federal election to legally enforce a cap or limits on carbon pollution.
  • 61% of Liberals, 73% of New Democrats, 90% of Greens, 43% of Conservatives, 73% of the Bloc Québecois, and 56% of Undecided voters feel it is important or very important to phase out coal, oil and gas and replace it with renewable energy.

The national random sample telephone poll of 3,040 Canadians was conducted for Climate Action Network Canada (CAN-Canada) by Oracle Research Limited from March 12 to 30, 2015. The margin of error for the total 3040-person survey is +/- 1.78%, 19/20 times. In addition to national summary totals, poll results were analysed by gender, province and voter intention (see Backgrounder below for results summary).

“Canadians are looking for political leadership. We will bring our feet and voices to the need to Act on Climate in a march on April 11 in Québec City. Business, labour and environmental leaders will reinforce the possibilities at the Canadian Round Table on a Green Economy, April 13, and we expect provincial governments to tell the country what they will do to protect the climate. The federal government is missing in action. It is time for all federal and provincial leaders to take responsibility for doing their part to protect the climate, says Steven Guilbault, Senior Policy Director, Équiterre.”

Climate Action Network Canada is also supporting the Act on Climate Forum (http://ftq.qc.ca/act-on-climate-forum/), a civil society meeting of environment and labour groups on climate protection that will be held on April 12th, one day after the April 11th march for the climate. It aims to strengthen collaboration between groups and accelerate a transition toward a post-carbon economy.

Contact: Dr. Louise Comeau, 1-506-238-0355; lcomeau@climateactionnetwork.ca; Steven Guilbault, Équiterre, guilbeault@equiterre.org, 1-514-231-2650.

Climate Action Network Canada – Réseau action climat Canada (CAN-Rac Canada) is a non-partisan coalition of more than 100 organizations from across the country that cares about how a changing climate affects people, plants and wildlife. Our Network believes that it is reckless not to invest now to keep our families and communities safe, especially when solutions are affordable. We are working together to advance solutions to managing our carbon pollution through sustainable and equitable development.

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