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Polling climate change in Canada

Canada

A new survey addresses the views of Canadians on climate change. Conducted by Insightrix Research, Inc. for IPAC-CO2 Research Inc., which describes itself as "an environmental non-government organization (ENGO) created to provide independent risk and performance assessments of CO2 storage projects," the survey asked (PDF) its respondents, "Where do you stand on the issue of climate change?" Of the respondents, 32% agreed that climate change is occurring due to human activity, 54% agreed that climate change is occurring partially due to human activity and partially due to natural climate variation, 9% agreed that climate change is occurring due to natural climate variation, and 2% agreed that climate change is not occurring at all; 4% of respondents were not sure.

According to the report, the results were consistent with the results from a survey conducted in 2011. Regionally, residents of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba were least likely to agree that climate change is occurring due to human activity, while residents of Quebec, the Atlantic provinces, and British Columbia were most likely to agree. The report added, "Younger respondents are most likely to believe that climate change is occurring due to human activity and least likely to believe that it is occurring due to natural climate variation. Men are more likely than women to believe that climate change is occurring due to natural climate variation. No significant differences in beliefs by level of education are noted."

The poll was conducted between May 29 and June 11, 2012. Reporting on the survey, the Canadian Press (August 15, 2012) explained, "Unlike traditional telephone polling, in which respondents are randomly selected, the Insightrix survey was conducted online among 1,550 respondents, all of whom were chosen from a larger pool of people who agreed to participate in ongoing research. They were compensated for participating. The survey set quotas by age, gender, region and education to match the general population. The polling industry's professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population."

By way of comparison, a survey from Angus Reid Public Opinion, conducted in May and June 2012, asked (PDF) respondents in Canada (as well as the United States and the United Kingdom), "Which of the following statements comes closest to your view of global warming (or climate change)?" "Global warming is a fact and is mostly caused by emissions from vehicles and industrial facilities" was preferred by 58% of Canadians, "global warming is a fact and is mostly caused by natural changes" was preferred by 20% of Canadians, "global warming is a theory that has not yet been proven" was preferred by 14% of Canadians, and 8% of Canadians were not sure. The Angus Reid survey was also conducted on-line with the results weighted to ensure a representative sample.