Only two per cent of Canadians who responded to a new opinion poll believed climate change is not occurring.
A further nine per cent believed climate change is occurring naturally and 54 per cent felt both humans and nature are playing a role.
I would like more information on that 54%. Because the answer could either be in agreement with the mainstream opinion in the scientific community or not depending on the details.
UPDATE: I actually agree with Tom Harris here (not something I intend to make a habit of):
The public opinion poll conducted by Insightrix Research will be of limited use to policy-makers since it did not ask the most important question of all: Do you believe that emissions of carbon dioxide from human activities are causing dangerous global warming and other problematic climate change?
It must be “dangerous” climate change that is being asked about. Anything less than dangerous, while interesting to scientists, is of no concern to politicians who continue to divert billions of taxpayer dollars to the climate file while important social programs remain underfunded.
This is similar to what I was getting at above. Of course reality doesn’t care about public opinion; even if a large percentage of the public didn’t accept climate change it would have no effect on the radiative properties of CO2.
It matters what question is asked, obviously. But “Do you believe that emissions of carbon dioxide from human activities are causing dangerous global warming and other problematic climate change?” is actually pretty tricky. First there is “are causing” vs “will eventually cause” and secondly there is “and other problematic … change”. I can still answer in the affirmative, but that is pretty much recent. That there is a risk is absolutely clear. That there is present impact is increasingly clear but one can argue about it. Harris uses the word “dangerous” in a peculiar way to further muddy the waters.
One question we should be asking is whether we have a right to risk the entire world that will be the home of future generations on behalf of our present-day comfort and convenience. Another is whether rich countries can justifiably move the negative consequences of their own actions onto the backs of the poor countries and their populations.
These may not poll very well, actually. But they are really the important questions.