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Canadians care about climate change but few are willing to pay out of pocket for it

A new Ipsos poll, conducted for Global News, found that despite the growing number of Canadians concerned over climate change, the actual amount of people not willing to spend a single cent on the issue makes up 46% of Canadians
Wyatt Claypool Montreal, QC

A new Ipsos poll, conducted for Global News, found that despite the growing number of Canadians concerned over climate change, the actual amount of people not willing to spend a single cent on the issue makes up 46% of Canadians – 68% of Canadians unwilling to pay more than $100.

This may strike some as odd as other polling companies have found that 77% of Canadians agreed with the statement that, “The world is facing a climate emergency and unless greenhouse gas emissions fall dramatically in the next few years global warming will become extremely dangerous.” although this may not be a contradiction.

Although climate change may be often listed as one of the top political issues to Canadian voters, the unwillingness to spend any amount of money may also stem from multiple factors.

When the current Liberal government makes pledges to make Canada a net-zero emitter by 2050, with few details, most Canadians may just distrust the government’s ability to make significant improvements regardless of who is in power.

Vice president of Ipsos, Sean Simpson, said while interpreting the results that, “There’s a big difference here between intent and behaviour” which is to say the results do not prove a cause.

“I think it’s because people obviously see climate change as an issue — it’s number three in importance in people’s votes — but in terms of the culprit, I think people blame other people.”

This representation very well may be accurate, although the same thing could also be said about that 5% of respondents who said they were willing to spend $1000+ just spending for protection against others carbon-emitting. At this point, all the explanations cannot help but be vague.

In order of most to least willing to spend by political parties saw a predictable breakdown. Green and NDP voters were the most willing to spend, followed by the Liberals, Bloc Quebecois, and the Conservatives.

Spending averages for each party were not accurate seeing as despite most people unwilling to spend more than $100, those willing to spend $1000 or more skewed the statistics significantly.

At this point, there is no telling why Canadians as a general rule are not thrilled about spending on climate change, but that may change in the future with the rapid growth of the environmental movement, exemplified by the recent climate strike in Montreal.

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Wyatt Claypool
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