Canadian support for climate change initiatives lags ahead of COP27: Ipsos – Global News

Ahead of the COP27 forum, Canada appears to rank near the bottom of 34 countries when it comes to public support for measures to help tackle climate change, a new poll suggests.

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When asked about support for a range of initiatives governments could propose, such as subsidies for clean technology and providing incentives to invest in green financial products, Ipsos polling of citizens from 34 countries indicates support among Canadians ranks between the 27th and 31st spots.

“These results are shocking,” Sanyam Sethi, vice president of Ipsos Public Affairs, told Global News. “Canadians are not as engaged as they should be in the climate debate.”

“While there is support in many counties on a lot of these initiatives, what we’re seeing in Canada is very, very different,” she added.

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The results come ahead of the 27th annual Conference of the 198 Parties of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change — better known as COP27 — in Egypt.

The summit begins Sunday in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

On Thursday, four days before the start of the conference, U.N. Security General Antonio Guterres warned that the planet is headed toward irreversible “climate chaos.”

He said COP27 “must be the place to rebuild trust and re-establish the ambition needed to avoid driving our planet over the climate cliff,” noting that the most important outcome of the summit is to have “a clear political will to reduce emissions faster.”

Click to play video: 'Alberta’s oil and gas industry prepares for COP27'

Alberta’s oil and gas industry prepares for COP27

Ipsos surveyed about 1,000 Canadians, of which, 55 per cent said they would approve the subsidizing of green technologies by the government, Ipsos’s research found.

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Only 51 per cent supported modifying pricing to make environmentally-friendly products cheaper.

Most other policy suggestions only showed support from less than one-third of Canada.

Support among citizens in the United States, Germany, France and Brazil also ranked low when it came to the policies proposed, Sethi said.

Countries such as Mexico, Chile and Columbia were at the top.

Why is Canada’s support so low and how can it grow?

Although support among the total number of Canadians surveyed was low, the data also indicates younger age groups and women were more likely to back the proposals, according to Sethi.

With so many other concerns on the table for Canadians, including fears of a looming recession, climate change just doesn’t seem to be at the top of the agenda, she said.

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“It’s a matter of what’s more important right now and important enough to overshadow everything else,” said Sethi.

“Inflation is a concern in many other countries and they are still taking action and they are forging ahead on climate action.”

To bring more engagement to the matter, Canada needs to see a “rigorous communication and education campaign,” according to Sethi.

The research shows that 59 per cent of Canadians believe the government is responsible for educating the public on climate change.

Click to play video: 'Alberta’s oil and gas industry prepares for COP27'

Alberta’s oil and gas industry prepares for COP27


Read more: COP27: Big business under pressure to channel money into climate change fight

This falls largely in line with trends observed in other nations. However, Canadians also said scientists have an important role to play in educating the country on the issue.

“(Scientists) are the second-most-looked-upon authority to lead climate change,” said Sethi.

More than 120 world leaders will attend this year’s U.N. climate talks that begin Sunday and go until Nov. 18. Over 40,000 have registered to attend.

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The U.N.’s Guterres has warned the stakes are high: “COP27 must lay the foundations for much faster, bolder climate action now and in this crucial decade, when the global climate fight will be won or lost.”

These are the results of a 34-country survey conducted by Ipsos on its Global Advisor online platform. Ipsos interviewed an international sample of 22,528 adults aged 18-74 in the US, Canada, Republic of Ireland, Israel, Malaysia, South Africa, and Turkey, 20-74 in Thailand, 21-74 in Indonesia and Singapore and 16-74 in all other countries between 26th August and 9th September 2022.

The sample consists of approximately 1,000 individuals in each of Australia, Brazil, Canada, mainland China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Spain, and the U.S., and 500 individuals in each of Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Columbia, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

The precision of Ipsos online polls are calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of 1,000 accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points and of 500 accurate to +/- 5.0 percentage points. For more information on Ipsos’ use of credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website.

–With files from the Associated Press