A large majority (68%) of Canadians believe that Canada’s recent wildfires are “definitely” or “most likely” at least partly the result of climate change, according to a new survey from Clean Energy Canada and Abacus Data.
Additionally, nearly all (89%) Canadians say they have noticed an increase in natural disasters over the past decade, with seven in 10 believing that this is a direct effect of climate change. Only 12% say they haven’t noticed an increase in natural disasters, while another 18% have observed an increase but believe it is “just a coincidence, not climate change.”
When asked to rate how fast Canada is moving on investing in and transitioning to clean energy, more than half (56%) of Canadians think that Canada is moving “fairly slowly” or “very slowly,” while less than half (49%) say the same of our allies. On both fronts, Canadians are somewhat pessimistic about the pace of the energy transition.
Meanwhile, nearly all (87%) Canadians feel that it is “very important” or “somewhat important” for federal and provincial governments to ensure that Canada remains competitive with our allies and trading partners when it comes to growing our clean energy sector and sustainably produced exports.
While roughly half (47%) of Canadians saw the recent electric vehicle and battery manufacturing announcements in Canada, 68% say that they view them as evidence that the transition to clean energy can benefit Canada’s economy and job creation. Younger Canadians were much more likely to see the announcements as beneficial.
Thinking about the next federal election, nearly all (86%) Canadians expressed that having a good plan for addressing climate change and growing Canada’s clean economy will impact their vote, with nearly 6 in 10 deeming it as “essential” or “very important” for their vote.
Finally, many Canadians are still getting their information through the news. When asked how they determine whether a political party has a good plan to address climate change and grow Canada’s clean economy, roughly half (49%) say they “read or watch the news,” while 33% say they “listen to the experts.” Only 16% cite social media as a source of information.
Trevor Melanson, communications director at Clean Energy Canada
“As the impacts of climate change become more frequent and apparent, Canadians are connecting the dots. They’re also connecting the economic dots, with a strong majority seeing recent EV and battery manufacturing announcements as evidence that the clean energy transition can drive growth and job creation. For politicians, this is more than a box to tick. Canadians both care deeply about climate action and are generally skeptical of political parties on this issue. It will take serious, sustained, and credible efforts to win them over.”
David Coletto, CEO at Abacus Data
“Wildfires and extreme weather remind Canadians that climate change isn’t just a global or theoretical phenomenon. It is having real and often devastating impacts on people’s lives. The result is that a growing number of people are making a party or political leader’s commitment to tackling the crisis table stakes to their political behaviour.”
The survey was conducted with 2,000 Canadian adults from June 06 to 11, 2023. A random sample of panelists were invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source. The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.2%, 19 times out of 20. The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.