Global Warming Doubts Dissolve in Britain, But Americans Still Skeptical

Most Canadians continue to regard global warming as a fact, while one-in-four Americans see it as an unproven theory.

The considerable level of uncertainty that Britons expressed earlier this year towards global warming has subsided, as more people in the country regard climate change as a fact, a new three-country Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

The online survey of representative national samples also shows that Canadians continue to lead the way in the belief that global warming is caused by emissions, while Americans remain particularly doubtful.

Overall, three-in-five Canadians (60%, +2 since April) say that that global warming is a fact and is mostly caused by emissions from vehicles and industrial facilities. This month, 47 per cent of Britons agree with this assessment, up nine points in six months. Americans are the most skeptical at 42 per cent (+1).

In the United States, a quarter of respondents (25%, unchanged) believe global warming is a theory that has not yet been proven, along with 18 per cent of Britons (-9) and 14 per cent of Canadians (-4).

Three-in-five Canadians (61%) think it is more important to protect the environment, even at the risk of hampering economic growth, while 18 per cent would prefer to foster economic growth, even at the risk of damaging the environment.

Half of Britons would rather protect the environment (51%) than foster economic growth (22%). The views of Americans are more nuanced on this issue (45% to 30%).


Canadians went through a period of global warming disbelief at the end of 2009, when the proportion of respondents who saw climate change as a fact mostly caused by emissions fell by 11 points. Now, Canadians are closer to their pre-Copenhagen summit numbers.

In stark contrast, the views of Americans have not recovered since last year’s plunge. Twice in 2010, a quarter of respondents have branded climate change as an unproven theory—six points higher than in November 2009.

In Britain, the conclusion of the so-called “climate-gate” has left opinions about global warming at roughly the same levels as before the controversy first began. The big drop experienced in April has dissipated, and Britons are now closer to Canadians on this issue.

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)

Methodology: From October 4 to October 17, 2010 Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 1,009 Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panellists, 1,003 American adults who are Springboard America panellists, and 1,948 British adults who are Springboard UK panellists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.1% for Canada and the United States, and 2.2 per cent for Great Britain. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of Canada, the US and Great Britain. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

MEDIA CONTACT: Shachi Kurl, Senior Vice President:
604.908.1693 @shachikurl

This archive includes polls conducted prior to October 2014 by Angus Reid Global, formerly the public affairs research practice of Vision Critical. We are grateful to Vision Critical for their generous donation of this data.