British Columbians support carbon taxes and are confident that taking action to reduce greenhouse gas pollution will help grow, or have little or no impact on, the provincial economy according to a new poll released today by the Pembina Institute.
According to the poll, the majority of British Columbians (69%) are worried about climate change and most (70%) want the province to continue showing leadership on the issue without waiting for other jurisdictions to take similar steps.
The poll also shows that most British Columbians feel the carbon tax has either been positive (33%) or neutral (41%) for the province.
The poll explored several ways in which the carbon tax could evolve:
- Most respondents (69%) support applying the carbon tax to all sources of greenhouse gas pollution.
- The most popular choice for new carbon tax revenue was government priorities like health care and education (56%), while the second choice was investing in climate change solutions like transit (49%)
- While there was surprisingly strong support for continued increases in the carbon tax after 2012 (29%), a narrow majority preferred not to see an increase (51%). The poll also asked about preferred tax options and found carbon taxes to be the second most popular with almost three-quarters (71%) ranking them in their top three choices.
'Applying the carbon tax as fairly as possible and investing revenue in priorities like health care, education and green projects appear to be good ways of building more public support for the carbon tax,' said Matt Horne, director of B.C. Energy Solutions for the Pembina Institute.
'To build support for continued increases in the carbon tax, the government will need to have an open dialogue with British Columbians about the environmental objectives and the potential uses of carbon tax revenue.'
'We are very pleased to see such a high level of support for the carbon tax,' said Tom Pedersen, executive director of the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, which provided funding for the polling and analysis.
'This is an endorsement by British Columbians of the internationally recognized leadership that this province has taken in dealing with the critical issue of global warming, while spurring the clean technology development that will help drive our twenty-first century economy.'
The national research firm Strategic Communications Inc. conducted the independent poll. It was based on a representative sample of 830 British Columbians and conducted online from April 14 to 18, 2011.
The results are reflective of B.C.'s actual regional, gender and age composition based on the 2006 Census. A probabilistic sample of this size yields a margin of error of 3.4 per cent, 19 times out of 20.