Poll: British Columbians overwhelmingly see impact of climate change on province, but awareness of B.C.’s climate plan is low

Photo by: daveynin (CC BY 2.0)

VANCOUVER — Climate change has arrived in British Columbia, and British Columbians have taken note.

An overwhelming majority (87%) now say that climate change has impacted people in their province, according to a new public opinion survey conducted by Stratcom for Clean Energy Canada. What’s more, this majority extends across all regions, demographics and voter types. 

Meanwhile, a similarly large majority of respondents either definitely (55%) or somewhat (31%) associate 2021’s extreme weather events in the province with climate change.

But while awareness of climate change’s impacts on the province is high, awareness when it comes to climate solutions is another matter. Most British Columbians either don’t know the province updated its climate plan last fall (39%) or aren’t aware the province even had a climate plan in the first place (18%).

Perhaps related to this low level of awareness is a high level of pessimism: a strong majority (61%) believe the province will fail to meet its target of reducing emissions by 40% by 2030. Just 39% believe the government will achieve its climate goal.

On the flipside, almost two-thirds of British Columbians (65%) are at least somewhat aware that 90% of new passenger vehicle sales in B.C. are required to be zero-emission by 2030, suggesting this particular policy is breaking through more than the climate plan of which it’s a part.

On the subject of electric vehicles, interest in buying one over the next few years (60%, including those who already own one) has not changed much since this same question was asked in November 2020. Interest is highest among those under 35, at 71%.

For those who say they’ve gleaned information about B.C.’s climate plan, sources are mixed: 32% heard about it from media outlets, 18% through social media, 16% from the provincial government, 10% through friends and family, and 9% from environmental groups. 

Those under 35 are most likely to recall information (61%) from one or more sources. Conversely, two-thirds (67%) of undecided voters haven’t heard anything about B.C.’s climate plan anywhere.

Finally, British Columbians overwhelmingly prefer the government focus on developing renewables (64%) over LNG (18%). This preference has increased slightly since November 2020, when the preference for renewables was at 61% and LNG at 22%.

METHODOLOGY 

These results are from a survey conducted online with a balanced sample of 801 adult B.C. residents from February 7 to 14, 2022. A random sample of panelists were invited to complete the survey from a selection of panels and river sources through the Lucid Marketplace. The sample of 801 B.C. residents (18+) is statistically weighted to match the gender, age, region and proportion of Chinese mother tongue in B.C. as per the 2016 Census. The data has also been weighted to match the 2020 B.C. provincial election results. Online polls don’t report margin of error, but a similar sized probability sample would have a margin of error of +/- 3.5%, 19 times out of 20.

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