Poll shows whopping concern among Canadians about climate change—82 percent say it's a serious problem

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      People across the country are waking up to the risks of rising greenhouse gas emissions.

      In a new poll by Abacus Data, 82 percent of respondents said that climate change is a serious problem.

      Nearly half, 47 percent, described it as an "extremely serious" problem.

      More than four in 10 described climate change as an emergency.

      Only 12 percent felt that climate change was not something that people should be concerned about.

      The poll also demonstrated a high level of anxiety across the country over this issue.

      One in four Canadians told Abacus that they often think about climate change and it makes them really anxious.

      Nearly double that percentage stated that they think about it sometimes and that they're increasingly worried about its impact.

      Residents of Quebec were the most anxious whereas Albertans were the least anxious.

      However, Abacus Data reported that even in Alberta, 58 percent of respondents said they "are either anxious and thinking about it all the time or think about it sometimes but becoming increasingly worried about the impact it will have".

      The poll was commissioned by Vancouver resident Seth Klein, the brother of author Naomi Klein and an adjunct professor with SFU's urban studies program.

      In a policy note on the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives website, Klein stated that he commissioned the poll because "far too much of the political oxygen and polling on climate change has been consumed by the carbon tax/pricing debate".

      "While carbon pricing is an important tool, it alone is not going to get us where we need to go, and the topic has distracted us from the scale of action needed," he wrote. "Additionally, too often polling questions individualize the challenge and solutions, rather than focusing on collective and governmental actions."

      Only 14 percent of respondents in the poll said that they had definitely heard of the "Green New Deal", which is being advanced by progressives on both sides of the border to bring about a rapid, climate-friendly retooling of the economy.

      Another 19 percent thought they had heard of it.

      When the Green New Deal was explained to respondents, 72 percent stated they were either strongly or somewhat supportive.

      Klein's wife is OneCity Vancouver councillor Christine Boyle, whose motion declaring a climate emergency was passed earlier this year.

      That was followed by similar motions being approved by other local governments and the Parliament of Canada.

      Vancouver council has also approved six "Big Moves" to address the climate crisis, including setting a target of 50 percent of kilometres driven in 2030 being made in zero-emission vehicles.

      Another "Big Move" is to ensure that all new replacement heating and hot-water systems deliver zero emissions. Yet another sets a target of cutting embedded emissions in new buildings and construction projects to 40 percent below the 2018 level by 2030.