Poll suggests Canadians stand between Europeans and Americans on climate change

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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OTTAWA - The survey, conducted by Harris-Decima on behalf of the Munk Debates, suggests Canadians don't feel as strongly about the environment as Europeans, but sentiment is stronger here than in the United States.

The poll is part of a larger study on climate change that gathered data from Canada, the United States, and Europe's five largest countries: Britain, France, Italy, Spain and Germany.
It suggests that Europeans feel most strongly about signing a new global pact to control greenhouse gases.
The findings come ahead of a pivotal United Nations conference in Copenhagen, where countries had hoped to hammer out a new climate-change deal to replace the expiring Kyoto Protocol
Three quarters of Europeans surveyed agreed that reaching a deal should be the top, or one of the top, priorities at next month's Copenhagen summit.
Sixty-two per cent of Canadian and 53 per cent of American respondents felt the same way.
Most Canadians (53 per cent) and Europeans (62 per cent) who responded to the survey said they felt the world will be worse off dealing with climate change if a deal isn't reached in Copenhagen. Fewer than half of the Americans surveyed - 45 per cent - agreed with that statement.
Canadian and American respondents tended to disagree with the Europeans about funding developing countries' efforts to lower greenhouse gases.
One thing that Canadians, Americans and Europeans could all agree on in the survey is that they don't want to pay more taxes to reduce greenhouse gases.
"Canadians aren't as skeptical about climate change as Americans. They're a little more active in terms of wanting to address the climate-change challenge," said Rudyard Griffiths, co-organizer of the Munk Debates.
"But we're not where the Europeans are. We don't have that sense of urgency. And we don't have, I think, the feeling of a planet in peril that seems to be influencing a lot very ambitious policy-making coming out of Europe on the eve of the Copenhagen summit."
The Copenhagen conference was, until a few months ago, seen as a make-or-break summit. But that was before leaders at the recent Asia-Pacific summit in Singapore acknowledged there will be no final deal in the Danish capital.
The rift between developed and emerging countries has been laid bare during recent negotiations leading up to Copenhagen.
Canada, the United States, Europe, Australia and others want a new agreement to also bind big developing nations such as China and India to cut greenhouse gases. Canada has spent much of the past year harnessing its environmental policy to that of the Obama administration in the United States.
But the industrial countries argue the battle to cut greenhouse gases is for naught unless all major polluters curb their emissions. Developing countries argue that binding targets would stunt their fledgling economies.
Developing countries also oppose having similar targets to industrialized nations, who they say are responsible for most of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. They want rich countries to pour billions of dollars into a special fund to help them pay for measures to mitigate the effects of climate change.
It now seems the likeliest outcome of the two-week talks is a so-called "political agreement" that sets a timeline and general terms for an eventual deal.
The online poll of 1,001 Canadians was conducted Oct. 28 to Nov. 8. Its margin of error was not immediately available.

Organizations: United Nations

Geographic location: Copenhagen, United States, Canada Europe OTTAWA Britain France Italy Spain Germany Asia-Pacific Singapore Australia China India

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