More Canadians believe in man-made climate change than Americans, Brits

Anti-oil pipeline rally in Victoria B.C.Maybe we all are a bunch of tree huggers in Canada.

According to a survey, released by Angus Reid on Friday, Canadians are more environmentally conscious than our British and American cousins.

Specifically:

- 58 per cent of Canadians, 47 per cent of Americans and 45 per cent of Brits believe that "global warming is a fact and is mostly caused by emissions from vehicles and industrial facilities."

- Only 13 per cent of Canadians believe climate change has yet to be proven; 20 per cent of the Americans surveyed and 19 per cent of the British surveyed are of that mind.

- 60 per cent of Canadians, 49 per cent of the Americans and 44 of the British surveyed support protecting the environment "even at the risk of hampering economic growth."

[ Related: Ice storm moves east after causing icy roads, power outages in Ontario ]

Interestingly, the survey came out on the same day that a senior Conservative cabinet minister was dogged about comments he made about global warming.

On Friday, Postmedia News took excerpts from a La Presse interview (in French) in which Minister of Natural Resources seemed to be dismissing climate change science.

"I think that people aren’t as worried as they were before about global warming of two degrees," Oliver is quoted as saying.

"Scientists have recently told us that our fears (on climate change) are exaggerated."

In a statement sent to Yahoo! Canada News, however, Oliver was singing a very different tune.

"Our Government is taking tough action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We will continue to work with international partners to reduce the effects of climate change on our economies and our environment. As I said yesterday to La Presse, climate change is a severe problem. That is why our Government is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17% by 2020, and we are already halfway towards achieving that goal. Our sector by sector approach is reducing greenhouse gas emissions while growing Canada’s economy."

Regardless of whether Oliver's words were taken out of context or whether he is backpedaling, his second message is definitely the one he wants out there for public consumption.

First, analysts and pundits have suggested that the Obama government wants to see the Harper government take climate change seriously before granting approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

[ Related: Canada's cred on climate change won't need much work: enviro minister ]

Second — as the Angus Reid survey shows — Canadians are a green bunch.

(Photo courtesy of Reuters)

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