16 August 2012

Good news on climate change ... I think

A new survey indicates that Canadians are increasingly acknowledging the reality of climate change while recognizing that we are the culprit. An Insightrix Research, Inc. poll reported that 98 per cent of us believe climate change is occurring with 86 per cent believing that human activity is at least partly responsible. Only nine per cent believe it isn't happening at all.

This is good news. The first step in dealing with a problem is recognizing you've got it, and with climate change that recognition hasn't been easy to achieve what with major vested interests attempting to deny the reality or at least confuse the issue. Canadians seem to be increasingly realizing that scientists are the wise men on this issue—the people who know what they are talking about—not the political or business leaders. This is critical if we are to muscle our political and business leaders into doing what is necessary to meet the challenge, the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced.

I do have some reservations about the poll. Of the 98 per cent who believe climate change is occurring, only 32 per cent believe it is entirely due to human agency, with 54 per cent believing it's due to a combination of human and natural causes. The latter is not unreasonable, yet suggests a certain softness in the recognition of human responsibility.

Furthermore, the poll was conducted online and wasn't random, although an effort was made to account for age, gender, region and education in order to match the general population, and a CBC online poll yielded roughly similar results (77 per cent believing human activity is at least partly responsible).

Despite some misgivings, the poll does indicate an awareness of the problem if not yet an awareness of its seriousness. It allows for hope at least.

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