Although more Canadians than ever believe that climate change is happening and support the government’s carbon tax policy, the public is still divided on the key political arguments around the carbon tax. These findings are from an online survey conducted by INNOVATIVE from August 6th to August 11th, 2021, with a weighted sample size of 1,200 Canadian residents.
Belief in Climate Change
Over 9-in-10 (93%) believe that climate change is at least probably occurring, up from 88% in April. Further, 80% are concerned with climate change, up from 75% in April.
Support for Carbon Tax
We track both support for the general idea of a carbon tax and support for the details of the current policy. Both numbers are up this month. Nearly half (48%) of respondents support a carbon tax in general; highest among Liberals (70%) and New Democrats (57%); lowest among Conservatives (25%). When we describe the government’s current specific policy including the increase from $30 to $170 a tonne, only 29% say they have followed it at least somewhat closely. However, we still find almost the same level of support the Liberals current specific policy. Again, support is highest among Liberals (66%) and New Democrats (65%) and lowest among Conservatives (23%).
Political Debate Over Carbon Tax
With such high levels of concern over climate change and reasonably strong support for the government’s policy, it would seem like the carbon tax debate is over.
We asked respondents to pick between two viewpoints:
Putting a price on pollution is one of the best ways to lower carbon consumption and to fight climate change in this country
The carbon pricing policy is just another tax grab that hinders the economic development of the country and does nothing for the environment
Given all the earlier results, it is not surprising that more Canadians pick the first statement over the second statement. What is surprising is how close the results are. Forty-four percent (44%) say putting a price on pollution is a good way to fight climate but 38% say its just a tax grab that hurts the economy and does nothing for the environment.
Despite high level of concern about climate change and high levels of support for the current carbon tax policy when tested on its own, the carbon tax remains a potential issue in this election.