Global Warming Skepticism Higher in U.S. and Britain than Canada

The views of Canadians on the issue of climate change continue to differ greatly from those of Americans and Britons, a new three-country Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

The online survey of representative national samples also shows that respondents in Canada are more likely to call for environmental protection at the risk of hampering economic growth than those in the United States and Britain.

Overall, practically three-in-five Canadians (58%) say that that global warming is a fact and is mostly caused by emissions from vehicles and industrial facilities. Only 43 per cent of Britons and 42 per cent of Americans agree with this assessment.

One-in-five respondents in Canada (20%) and the United States (21%) believe that global warming is a fact, and is mostly caused by natural changes—a view shared by 27 per cent of Britons. Finally, whereas 21 per cent of both Americans and Britons think that global warming is a theory that has not yet been proven, only 14 per cent of Canadians agree with this notion.

In Canada, respondents in the Atlantic Provinces (75%) and Quebec (71%) are more likely to say that global warming is a fact and is caused by emissions, along with Americans in the West (48%), and Britons in London (48%) and Scotland (47%).

The highest proportion of respondents who think global warming is a theory that has not yet been proven is the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan (35%) and Alberta (25%), the South in the United States (23%) and the South of England (also 23%).

A majority of Canadians (58%) believe it is more important to protect the environment, even at the risk of hampering economic growth. The proportion of Americans (45%) and Britons (43%) who agree with this notion is decidedly lower.


The proportion of Canadians who think global warming is a theory that has not yet been proven has not reached 20 per cent in any survey conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion since 2009. In the United States and Britain, climate change skepticism has either reached or surpassed the 20 per cent mark in 10 of the past 12 measurements.

Domestic economic conditions continue to play a role in perceptions about environmental protection. In Canada, the group that calls for the protection of the environment outranks the group that seeks to foster economic growth by 38 points. The difference is much smaller in the United States (18 points) and Britain (13 points).

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)

Methodology: Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among:

– 1,017 American adults who are Springboard America panelists, from May 29 to May 30, 2012.
– 2,026 British adults who are Springboard UK panelists, from June 7 to June 8, 2012.
– 1,004 Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists, from June 19 to June 20, 2012.

The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/-2.2% for Great Britain and +/-3.1% for the United States and Canada. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of each country.