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(11/27/09) -

Canadians Have Low Expectations on Copenhagen

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Few Canadians believe that the upcoming Climate Change Summit in Denmark will lead to a comprehensive global accord, according to a poll by Angus Reid Public Opinion. While 58 per cent of respondents would like to see a legally binding agreement that sets specific targets for all signatories, only five per cent believe this will actually happen.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Few Canadians believe that the upcoming Climate Change Summit in Denmark will lead to a comprehensive global accord, according to a poll by Angus Reid Public Opinion. While 58 per cent of respondents would like to see a legally binding agreement that sets specific targets for all signatories, only five per cent believe this will actually happen.

In addition, 43 per cent of respondents expect no agreement to come out of Copenhagen, and 38 per cent foresee a political compromise to meet certain milestones on a voluntary basis.

The term global warming refers to an increase of the Earth’s average temperature. Some theories say that climate change might be the result of human-generated carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. In 2007, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report which states that global warming has been "very likely"—or 90 per cent certain—caused by humans burning fossil fuels.

In 1998, several countries agreed to the Kyoto Protocol, a proposed amendment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The agreement commits nations to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

The Copenhagen Climate Change Summit is scheduled to take place from Dec. 7 to Dec. 18. Countries attending the summit are supposed to draft a new agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which is due to expire in 2012.

Yesterday, Canadian environment minister Jim Prentice discussed his views on the summit, "If the U.S. does not make a substantial effort going forward, there is nothing Canada can do and our own mitigation efforts will be futile. If we do more than the U.S., we will suffer economic pain for no real environmental gain—pain that, especially during challenging economic times, could impede our ability to invest in new clean technologies. But if we do less, we will risk facing new border barriers into the American market."

Polling Data

As you may know, representatives from 170 countries will meet in Copenhagen, Denmark, next month to participate in a Climate Summit organized by the United Nations. Which of these scenarios would you prefer to see when the Climate Summit is over?

A legally binding agreement that sets specific targets for all signatories

58%

A political compromise to meet certain milestones on a voluntary basis

20%

No agreement—countries dealing with climate change independently of each other

12%

Not sure

11%

And which of these scenarios do you expect will actually happen when the Climate Summit is over?

A legally binding agreement that sets specific targets for all signatories

5%

A political compromise to meet certain milestones on a voluntary basis

38%

No agreement—countries dealing with climate change independently of each other

43%

Not sure

14%

Source: Angus Reid Public Opinion
Methodology: Online interviews with 1,010 Canadian adults, conducted on Nov. 24 and Nov. 25, 2009. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.

Complete Poll (PDF)