Unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe Territories [OTTAWA], May 12, 2023:
Two in three Canadians (64%) believe the oil and gas industry should be required to limit emissions so that Canada can meet its climate goals, reveals a new poll from Abacus Data.
With the federal government expected to unveil draft regulations for a cap on greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector this summer, the fossil fuel industry is working overtime to lobby to undermine the policy. But the poll shows Canadians aren’t buying it: a strong majority say a cap is necessary, and don’t trust the industry to cut emissions on its own.
“This government has a strong mandate from Canadians to rein in rising emissions from the oil and gas industry,” said Caroline Brouillette, Executive Director of Climate Action Network Canada. “Canada will not meet its climate target without a robust emissions cap.
“This week, 20,000 Albertans were forced from their homes by raging wildfires. Climate change caused by rising fossil fuel emissions are making these disasters far worse and far more frequent. Canadians deserve certainty that the country’s highest-emitting industry, which has failed for decades to curb its pollution, will start to do its fair share, like every other sector.”
The poll shows that across regions, federal voting preference, and age group, a majority of Canadians agree that the oil and gas industry should be required to limit its emissions so Canada can meet its climate target.
Overall, only 18% of Canadians say that the industry should not be required to limit emissions.
Support for the emissions cap is especially strong among supporters of the NDP (81%), Bloc Québecois (77%), and Liberal Party (72%). Half of Conservative voters (51%) agree, whereas only 31% disagree.
Support is highest among Canadians aged 60 and over (71%).
Support is highest in Quebec (68%) and Atlantic Canada (67%). Even in Alberta, 51% agree with requiring an emissions limit on the oil and gas industry, with only 31% disagreeing.
Despite oil and gas companies’ claims that they will reach net-zero by 2050, Canadians are highly skeptical of these promises: only 1 in 5 Canadians (20%) believe that the fossil fuel industry will voluntarily limit its emissions without government regulations.
Companies claim that they will decarbonize their operations by relying on carbon capture, utilization, and storage, yet research shows this technology is a risky bet: unproven at scale, expensive, slow to implement, and energy-intensive. And despite making unprecedented profits, Canada’s oil and gas industry is not investing in cutting emissions.
Six in 10 (61%) say oil and gas companies require regulations to ensure they limit their greenhouse gas emissions.
Trust in oil and gas companies’ voluntary measures is lowest among women (16%) and older voters (17% of 45- to 59-year-olds and 15% of people over 60).
Only one in three Albertans (34%) believe that oil and gas companies will voluntarily cut emissions.
Nearly 8 in 10 (77%) of Liberal voters say the fossil fuel industry requires regulations, along with 74% of NDP and 70% of Bloc Québecois voters.
The oil and gas industry accounts for 28% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, and its emissions have increased by 89% since 1990. In the same time frame, the electricity sector has cut emissions by 45%.
Environmental organizations have called for the emissions cap to be at minimum equivalent to Canada’s whole-of-economy emissions reduction goal of 45% below 2005 levels by 2030. That target is still well below Canada’s fair share of the global climate effort, which would require a 60% reduction in emissions by 2030.
Methodology: The survey was conducted with 1,963 Canadians aged 18 and over, from March 17 to 21, 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 +/- 2.21%, 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, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.
Canada’s farthest-reaching network of organizations working on climate and energy issues, Climate Action Network – Réseau action climat (CAN-Rac) Canada is a coalition of 150 organizations operating from coast to coast to coast. Our membership brings environmental groups together with trade unions, First Nations, social justice, development, health and youth organizations, faith groups and local, grassroots initiatives.
For more information or an interview, contact:
Caroline Brouillette, Executive Director