Concerns about climate change are higher than other key societal and economic issues cited as extremely serious, including government deficits and debt (29%); unemployment and economic growth (2%); wealth and income inequality (2%); racism and inequality in society (1%); and having access to affordable, sustainable and nutritious foods (18%).
The survey, conducted for the CNA by Abacus Data, explores the level of concern, impact and understanding around societal, economic and environmental issues Canada currently faces, as well as perceptions around addressing climate change.
“The fact that we are living through a global pandemic that has literally rocked the stability of the world we know, and yet climate change is currently cited as the number one extreme issue of concern is very profound,” said John Gorman, CNA chief executive officer and president.
Mr Gorman said the data shows that Canadians want decisive action taken to address climate change, including 86% who believe the government should invest in clean technology. As one of the lowest carbon-emitting energy sources, “nuclear must play a critical role in Canada's energy mix to help meet our emission reduction goals,” he said.
According to the survey, many Canadians have limited understanding of nuclear energy, with 56% of respondents stating their main sources of understanding are based on what they recall reading or hearing about many years ago. Only 10% of Canadians have sought out information on nuclear energy in the last 12 months.
Knowing that Canada’s fleet of 19 nuclear reactors meets about 17% of the country’s energy needs and that nuclear has the potential to increase supply significantly, 55% either support or are open to supporting more nuclear energy technologies to generate electricity in Canada. A further 35% would like to learn more before forming an opinion, versus 10% who expressed opposition.