Stark partisan differences remain in both Canada and other countries over the dangers posed by global warming, according to a new Pew report.
In Canada, just 45 per cent of Conservative Party supporters believe that global warming will harm them personally, compared to 72 per cent of NDP voters and 71 per cent of Liberals, according to Global Concern About Climate Change, Broad Support for Limiting Emissions, published by the Pew Research Center on Thursday.
However, the proportion of Conservatives worrying about climate change is more than double that of U.S. Republican supporters, just 20 per cent of whom back government action to curb greenhouse gas emissions, compared to 68 per cent of Democrats.
“Opinions on climate change tend to fall along partisan lines in many of the world’s wealthier nations, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Australia,” said Bruce Stokes, Pew’s director of Global Economic Attitudes.
Opinion is also somewhat split along religious lines in Canada, America, and Australia.
Thirty per cent of Canadian Catholics told Pew that they were ‘very concerned’ climate change would harm them personally, compared to just 16 per cent of Protestants. This compared to 22 per cent of Australian Catholics expressing deep concern over climate, versus just 9 per cent of Protestants.
“In Australia and Canada, Catholics are more likely than Protestants to express serious concerns about personal harm caused by climate change, though in both nations worries about global warming are most common among the religiously unaffiliated,” states the report.
In the U.S., 39 per cent of Catholics described themselves as ‘very worried’, compared to just 26 per cent of Protestants.
Data in all three countries suggests that Catholics are backing Pope Francis’s Encyclical released in June, titled Laudato Si, which argues that “climate change is a global problem with grave implications.”
“Catholics, along with people who are unaffiliated with major religions, are more likely to agree with the pope’s position than are Protestants in the U.S. Among American Catholics, half believe climate change is a very serious problem and 39 per cent are very concerned it will harm them personally. Only 34 per cent of Protestants are very concerned about global warming, and just 26 per cent express strong concerns that it will harm them in their lifetime,” states the report.
A global median of 54 per cent of people surveyed considered climate change to be a ‘very serious’ problem. A median of 78 per cent of respondents supported the idea of their country limiting greenhouse gas emissions as part of a new climate deal that is expected to emerge from the Paris talks later this month.
“The global consensus is that climate change is a serious challenge, not a distant threat,” said Richard Wike, Pew’s director of Global Attitudes Research. “In fact, majorities in most of the nations surveyed say the world’s changing climate is either causing harm in people’s lives now or will cause harm to them in the near future.”
The report also revealed that more than half of those surveyed globally believed that fighting climate change would also require lifestyle changes. It also found that 69 per cent of Americans and 71 per cent of Chinese favoured limiting emissions.