The Distribution of Climate Change Public Opinion in Canada
33 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2016
Date Written: February 15, 2016
Historic Canadian elections in 2015, both federally and provincially, created an opportunity for action on climate policy. While climate scientists have developed high resolution data sets on the distribution of Canadian climate risks, we still lack comparable data on the local distribution of public climate change opinions. This paper provides the first effort to estimate local climate and energy opinion variability outside the United States. Using a multi-level regression and post-stratification (MRP) approach, we estimate opinion in federal electoral districts and provinces. We demonstrate that a majority of the Canadian public consistently believes that climate change is happening. Belief in climate change's causes varies geographically, with more attributing it to human activity in urban as opposed to rural areas. Most prominently, we find majority support for carbon cap and trade policy in every province and district. By contrast, support for carbon taxation is more heterogeneous. Compared to the distribution of US climate opinions, Canadians believe climate change is happening at higher levels. This new opinion data set will support climate policy analysis and climate policy decision making at national, provincial and local levels.
Keywords: public opinion, global warming, climate change, risk perception, multilevel regression and poststratification
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