New data from a poll conducted by Abacus Data says that Canadians are increasingly worried about the climate crisis and are ready for action, while politicians lag behind on moves to implement serious climate policies.

The survey, which gathered data from 2,000 Canadians from July 16 to 19, shows that 42 per cent believe climate change is now “an emergency,” while a further 20 per cent believe it will likely be an emergency within the next few years, for a combined total of 62 per cent. 

For a majority of Canadians, climate change is no longer an abstract threat impacting people somewhere else or at some time in the future – they see it happening here and now. 49 per cent of respondents strongly agreed that climate change represents a major threat to the future of their children and grandchildren. 

Participants were asked their opinion on six policy proposals for Canada, including transitioning all government vehicles in its fleet to electric vehicles, ending the use of coal and gas by 2022, and requiring all new buildings and homes to be heated by electricity only. A majority of respondents either strongly supported or supported the proposals. 

According to a survey commissioned by North99 in April 2019, a majority of Canadians also support a Green New Deal, described as “a massive government jobs program and investment in clean energy, green technology, and electrification” that would aim to move Canada to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030. The survey found that support for a Green New Deal crosses party, geographical and age lines. 

Canada’s politicians “have failed to take adequate action in the face of the climate emergency, insisting the public is ‘not there yet,’” said Seth Klein, the researcher who commissioned the poll. 

“Increasingly, the public is ahead of our elected leaders. A solid majority of Canadians are ready to move beyond incremental policies and to entertain truly transformative climate action,” he said. 

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