Environment Poll Report

July 29, 2011

Key Findings

Members agree that global warming exists and is manmade and they are willing to do what they can to combat it, including buying environmentally friendly products, limiting energy use, paying more for energy and making sacrifices to ensure a sustainable future. In other words, CARP members have a clear-eyed view of the environmental challenges facing the world, and they are willing to make realistic trade-offs between economic and environmental wellbeing, without falling victim to the ideological excesses of either climate change deniers or environmental doomsayers.

There is wide agreement we are going through a period of global warming, and while members are slightly less convinced this phenomenon is manmade, fully one half think there is little possibility of averting lasting environmental damage by altering human behaviour now.

One half of members say they buy environmentally friendly products all or most of the time, and one third still do so if they cost more than regular products.

Two thirds of members say home energy costs are too high, but the plurality agree it is preferable to adjust these costs upwards now to reflect the real cost of energy, rather than keeping costs artificially low.

Members strongly approve of a carbon tax scheme and also an initiative in which manufacturers become responsible for their products throughout their lifecycle, but they are less favourably disposed to a Cap and Trade carbon emission scheme.

There is wide agreement personal actions can have a significant positive effect on the environment. Members are suspicious of the health hazards of both cell phones and high tension wires.

On the subject of the Oil Sands, members agree that both a secure petroleum supply and a clean environment are important and need to be reconciled, but those who think the environment is more important outnumber those who think oil is most important by five to one.

The vast majority of members are willing to make sacrifices now to ensure a sustainable world in the future. However, when they are asked if they agree with taking the provincial portion of the HST off home energy costs and gasoline, they agree strongly to home energy costs, while about half agree to gasoline, with significant minorities disagreeing with these actions. The majority agree these revenues could be made up through cutting government waste, whereas about one quarter adopt the more realistic position that these revenues will be made up out of taxes and user fees imposed elsewhere. However, the plurality (more than a third) agree it is better to allow gasoline costs to increase naturally now rather than to artificially keep them low.

The Conservative Party continues to lead strongly in voter preference, although it has lost some share recently (to the Green Party). The Liberals and NDP continue to fight it out for distant second place to the Conservatives.
To read a detailed poll report complete with charts, click here