Posted on January 13, 2010 (updated: January 13, 2010)

New poll shows British Columbians demand provincial law to reduce global warming

An overwhelming majority of British Columbians want the province to enact climate change legislation with mandatory targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new province-wide survey.

The survey, carried out for Sierra Legal, found that 82% of British Columbians agree (and 66% strongly agree) that the B.C. government should enact such legislation. Only a fraction (6%) strongly disagree that the province should do so.

Support for climate change legislation is equally strong across gender lines, all age groups and all geographic regions of the province.

“The results of this poll show that the B.C. public is demanding much more from the provincial government’s current climate change and energy policies,” says Sierra Legal Staff Lawyer Sean Nixon. “If a clear majority of British Columbians want a law that ensures a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the government should do its job and enact that legislation. British Columbians expect bold and responsible action to move us towards a sustainable energy future.”

Given a list of realistic energy options that B.C. may pursue to meet its energy needs, 86% strongly agreed the province should encourage renewable energy such as wind and solar power. Seventy-nine percent of respondents strongly agreed B.C. should encourage energy efficiency and conservation. Only nine percent strongly agreed that the province should encourage coal-fired power plants, compared with 69% that disagreed either “strongly” (48%) or “somewhat” (21%) that BC should pursue coal-fired power.

“The BC government should ask itself why it is encouraging coal-fired power plants over clean energy choices, like renewable energy, efficiency and conservation,” says Mr. Nixon.

“Global warming is the greatest economic and environmental threat facing B.C.,” says Ian Bruce, climate change campaigner with the David Suzuki Foundation. “Instead of lagging behind, British Columbia’s government should be a leader in international efforts to fight global warming, and this poll shows that’s what people want.”

Under the B.C. government’s climate change and energy policies, B.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions have risen 30 per cent since 1990, with a five point increase in the last year alone.

The poll results are taken from a province-wide survey conducted by Strategic Communications between November 23 and 30, 2006. Interviews were conducted by phone with 601 adult Canadian citizens (eligible voters) who reside in BC. Respondents were selected by the random-household sampling method proportional to actual regional populations. The overall results are considered accurate to within ±4.0 percent, 19 times out of 20. Strategic Communications is a Canadian public opinion research firm with offices in Vancouver and Toronto.

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