Public Opinion on Climate Change and Support for Various Policy Instruments in Canada and the US

June 2014

This report summarizes results from national-level surveys on public attitudes toward climate change administered in Canada and the US in Fall 2013. Since 2008, the National Surveys on Energy and Environment (formerly the National Surveys of American Public Opinion on Climate Change) has examined the perceptions and preferences of residents of the United States regarding their views on the existence of climate change and potential policy approaches to address the issue. In early 2011, a survey was fielded in Canada at roughly the same time as in the US, providing some comparative perspective on attitudes in the latter. In 2013, the Fall 2013 fielding of the National Surveys on Energy and Environment (NSEE) was accompanied by a second Canadian wave, supported by the Université de Montréal and Canada 2020.

Results from these surveys allow for direct comparisons between the views of the Canadian and American publics on matters pertaining to climate change and its mitigation, providing insight into one of the factors affecting trends in both policy and emissions trajectories. In what follows, we highlight key findings emerging from the most recent 2013 wave of our comparative project. Where appropriate, some tables draw on findings from previous waves to illustrate the change in Canadian and American public opinion regarding climate matters.