Canadians and Americans Call for More Action on the Environment
Climate change takes a backseat, as issues such as the pollution of rivers lakes and reservoirs, air pollution, and the contamination of soil and water by toxic waste are regarded as more troubling for respondents. Most people in Canada and the United States believe their respective federal administrations are not paying enough attention [...]
Climate change takes a backseat, as issues such as the pollution of rivers lakes and reservoirs, air pollution, and the contamination of soil and water by toxic waste are regarded as more troubling for respondents.
Most people in Canada and the United States believe their respective federal administrations are not paying enough attention to the environment, while Britons are more likely to endorse the way their government is handling this file, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.
The online survey of representative samples of 1,002 Americans, 1,009 Canadians and 2,011 Britons also finds that global warming is not one of the most important environmental problems for respondents in the United States and Britain.
In Canada, two-thirds of respondents (66%) think their federal government is paying too little attention to the environment, while one-in-five (21%) believe it has taken the right approach, and just five per cent say it is paying too much attention to the this issue.
In the United States, a majority of respondents (53%) feel that their federal administration is not paying enough attention to the environment, while 19 per cent agree with the way this file has been handled, and 15 per cent claim that too much attention is being paid to the environment at this time.
In Britain, a third of respondents (34%) believe the government has taken the correct course of action on the environment, 11 per cent think too much attention has been paid to this topic, and 40 per cent believe more should be done.
Respondents in the three countries were presented with a list of ten environmental problems, and asked to state whether they are personally concerned about each one of them.
Canadians and Americans place the same four issues as their biggest environmental concerns: the pollution of rivers lakes and reservoirs (Can. 80%, U.S. 72%), the contamination of soil and water by toxic waste (Can. 76%, U.S. 66%), the pollution of drinking water (Can. 72%, U.S. 70%), and air pollution (Can. 70%, U.S. 65%).
In Britain, a large proportion of respondents are also worried about the pollution of rivers lakes and reservoirs (62%) and air pollution (60%), but four different issues emerge as concerns for Britons: deforestation (67%), the loss of tropical rain forests (66%), the extinction of plant and animal species (61%), and the depletion of fish stocks due to overfishing (60%).
A majority of respondents in the three countries are worried about the maintenance of the supply of fresh water for household needs (Can. 60%, U.S. 56%. Bri. 54%).
Global warming or climate change is last on the list of environmental concerns for Britons (52%) and next-to-last for Americans (50%, slightly above the depletion of fish stocks through overfishing). Three-in-five Canadians (61%) are personally concerned about global warming.
While only three per cent of Canadians say they are not personally worried about any of the ten environmental problems reviewed on the survey, the proportion stands at nine per cent in Britain and 10 per cent in the United States.
In Canada, British Columbians (63%) and Quebecers (63%) are more likely to voice concerns over global warming than Ontarians (41%) and Albertans (40%). BC residents are particularly troubled by the depletion of fish stocks due to overfishing (76%) and deforestation (71%), while Ontarians are more concerned over the pollution of rivers, lakes and reservoirs (87%).
In the United States, respondents in the Northeast are more troubled by each one of the ten environmental problems than the national average. Only half of respondents in the Midwest, South and West are personally concerned about global warming and the extinction of plant and animal species.
In Britain, nine of the ten environmental problems are particularly important in the South of England. Global warming is the exception, and only half of respondents in the Midlands and Wales and the North are worried about this issue.
Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)
Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs
+877 730 3570
Methodology: From July 1 to July 9, 2010, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 1,009 Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panellists, 1,002 American adults who are Springboard America panellists, and 2,011 British adults who are Springboard UK panellists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.1% for Canada and the United States, and 2.2 per cent for Great Britain. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of Canada, the US and Great Britain. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.