Environment, equality and values: Is Canada the most envied country?

Written by J l A, Y, s, o, n, , f, r, s, e, g, y, t, p Power, happiness, and environmental sustainability top the list of priorities in Canada today, according to a…

Environment, equality and values: Is Canada the most envied country?

Written by J l A, Y, s, o, n, , f, r, s, e, g, y, t, p

Power, happiness, and environmental sustainability top the list of priorities in Canada today, according to a new national poll released Thursday. But when it comes to mobilizing Canadians to implement their actions, the place on the list that resonates the most isn’t the list of action priorities.

The highest share of respondents, 40%, listed meeting Canada’s net-zero energy goals. These include measures such as making all buildings energy efficient, converting all power generation to renewable energy and making housing more sustainable. This is highest of any action category in the survey of nearly 3,000 respondents from the country’s four provinces, at the middle.

Those surveyed value meeting net-zero goals most because they align with their ethics, individual beliefs and values, 54% said, compared to 44% who ranked these factors most highly in regard to their home ownership.

The idea that net-zero emissions are a feasible, practical solution for citizens is further illustrated by the fact that 78% believe that Canada could achieve net-zero emissions in the next 40 years, compared to 54% who thought the U.S. could do so in the same time frame.

While the survey found Canadians’s commitment to action stands in contrast to the United States, it found residents may not be as motivated as other nationalities in the overall area of energy efficiency.

“One challenge Canada has is that we have a different set of motivations for participating in energy efficiency, which includes the value of energy to the environment,” said Miranda Lennox, managing director of North Star Renewables, which conducted the survey with ICM Research. “Only 14% of Canadians are motivated by a personal belief in green energy. In comparison, Germany has 71% of respondents motivated by personal belief, and the U.S. 50%.”

While a majority — 57% — say the country needs to have greater private sector investment in energy efficiency, a comparable share, 54%, also say Canada’s state-level leadership is a priority.

Priority statistics in some other action categories

Canada may trail the United States, but it also stands among its international peer countries, according to the 2019 Canada Competitiveness Report released in April. The report compared indicators such as gross domestic product, education, access to private financing, regulation and health care to rank the competitiveness of each country using 50 indicators.

The report found that the United States has fallen in the last four years, with the biggest drop, 8%, in net business activity and movement-based indicators. To correct this, the report’s author recommended that the country invest in data warehousing and improving the country’s information-gathering skills and infrastructure.

In the issue of regulation, Canada was ranked most competitive by 13.4 points, closely followed by the U.S. (13.2) and the United Kingdom (13.1). This is due to its reduced corporate tax rates and effective regulatory system compared to the U.S. and the UK, according to the report. The average taxes for business in Canada compared to the other countries surveyed were 15.5% of corporate taxes and 37.7% of profits, vs. 21.6% of corporate taxes and 45.3% of profits.

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