Green Answers - 2
2. Do Canadians really care, or are they only telling pollsters it's a big issue because they feel they should?
-Most (90%) of those who say they care do, but willingness to make sacrifices varies.
-I think the complete lack of action on the above options [driving less and making environmental decisions] makes it pretty clear that it's the latter.
-The level of concern over the environment is soft because each day , hundreds of thousands of Canadians would rather drive to work and do an hour of gridlock rather than take the bus. They'd rather wait in a big line up of cars and trucks to buy a double double and a chocolate dip doughnut rather than make the coffee at home, slap it in a travel mug, walk two blocks to the bus stop and take the bus to work each day.
-A bit of both. I think a lot or people feel concerned but they're not ready to change their habits until someone tells/forces them to, while others are already looking for more environmentally friendly ways to do things.
-Canadians don't care. Canadians know that on some level the media is being cynical on the issue so they can't get worked up about it in a positive way.
-I think polls like this demonstrate the public reacting to issues, not leading issues, and this is the flavour of the month. Or, if we analogize with health care, flavour of the next 5 years or so.
-Let me tell you in no uncertain terms, that Canadians care. So long as Canada wins the global lottery and gets a trillion dollars (US) and can afford to fix health care, lower taxes, buy more chocolate, and stop greenhouse gas emissions, Canada will be there, and Canadians will be on board!!!
-I won't question people's sincerity without cause, so I'll accept that people are genuinely concerned. Whether that concern will last, or will be swept aside by the next political issue or scandal, is a different question.
-it's soft support at best and most people don't truly understand the ramifications of meeting our Kyoto targets.
-Something I heard at the time, which I've heard now, is that the enviro is one of those issues that moves towards the top of the list of important items when other issues are not as pressing.
I do think people care. Even before the global warming burst onto the scene as the hip issue, people talked about the environment in one form or another - recycling, acid rain, pesticides...it's always been something people were aware of. Captain Planet aired over a decade ago and the environment did score as a major issue in the late 80s. Obviously the poll numbers are echoing increased media hype around it, but I don't doubt that Canadians genuinely care about the environment, simply because they always have.
But Canadians care about a lot of things. They care about starving children in Africa, but there hasn't exactly been a groundswell of support to do something about that. The real question is how much they care. And, here, I suspect most Canadians are a lot more concerned about whether or not their favourite team will make the playoffs than about the long range temperature projections scientists come out with. So this brings us to question 5:
How much are Canadians actually willing to pay?
-Most would probably support a greater cost increase resulting from emissions standards on industries than they would on something more visible such as a gas tax.
-Also, note how soft that support for environmental policy is. Sure, they'll tell pollsters how, theoretically, they'd sacrifice for the environment. But when the question gets to gas prices, a real expense they can calculate, they start to shy away. If any government actually enacted serious, carbon-cutting, economy-slowing policy, how long would people really put up with it?
-It depends on the penalties and the incentives. If there was suddenly a tax imposed on gas gussling vehicles like SUV's people would be using fule efficient cars in no time. At the same time people would be more willing to spend more on an energy efficient appliance if they see themselves getting money back on it through a tax credit.
-I have a question for you, why would I buy a Honda Civic hybrid when a new "normal" Civic costs considerably less, holds more, is cheaper to maintain, has a longer life span and is good on gas?
- They're not. Christ, vinegar and baking soda are two superb cleaning agents that don't contain any chemical by-products, and they're a third of the cost of cleaning products that you should not drink - people keep buying the fancy stuff, though.
-The capitalist in me says that the more political (read: government dependant) this issue becomes, the less willing people will be to take responsibility for their personal actions. I agree with you. People won't be cutting their driving by half anytime soon.
-If our economy tanks in the next year (and I think we are long overdue for an recession, but that's just me) I believe that Canadians might be more interested in finding their next job rather than finding out which political party has the greenest platform.
Canadians care...until people start talking about a fifty cent gas tax. The mere fact that 61% of people surveyed said they would cut their driving in half to help the environment illustrates the problem. NOTHING IS STOPPING THEM FROM CUTTING THEIR DRIVING IN HALF! They don't need the government to force them to take public transit - all that question says is that people know they can help, they're aware that they could cut back, they say they'd like to, but they don't.
Now, that's a great argument for why the government needs to do something (since people won't on their own), but it also shows that people will only help so long as their lifestyle isn't dramatically altered. I think most Canadians would support some tax restructuring to encourage green choices and I think most would support regulations on industry. And, despite what I said above, I think most would support policy which would hurt them financially...so long as it's a very minimal cost. I simply don't think we're at a point where changes which drastically hurt the national economy or (more importantly) the personal economy of Canadians would be acceptable.
That's not to say Kyoto targets can't be met without hurting the economy. But it does mean that if Harper says "we can't meet Kyoto without hurting the economy", it's a message Canadians might listen to.