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Canadians say climate change bigger threat than terrorism

A new poll shows that Canadians now see climate change as a larger threat than terrorism, even though their government has largely scaled back efforts to combat climate change. Half of the poll’s respondents said that climate change was a ‘critical threat’, while only a quarter said the same about terrorism.

The number of Canadians viewing climate change as a ‘critical threat’ dropped 3 percent in the last six years, from 52 percent to 49 percent (close to the polls margin of error of 2.8 percent). However, fears over terrorism plummeted during the same time, dropping from 49 percent in 2004 to 28 percent. It should be noted that part of the poll was conducted prior to attempt by a Nigerian with Al-Qaeda ties to blow up a plane in the US.

Despite concerns about climate change remaining high in Canada, the northern nation’s government has faced criticism at home and abroad for doing little to mitigate climate change. The nation is only country to drop out of the Kyoto Treaty. Since 1990 Canada’s emissions have risen 26 percent since 1990 (10 percent more than the US, which never signed onto Kyoto).

Many cite the reason for Canada’s unwillingness to ambitiously confront climate change as its tar sands industry. The extraction of oil from the tar sands is energy intensive and leaves a carbon footprint that some say is the largest industrial source of carbon emissions in the world: 40 million tons of greenhouse gases every year.

The poll included 1,229 responses and was conducted between December 22, 2009 and January 4th, 2010.

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