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The Distribution of Climate Change Public Opinion in Canada

33 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2016  

Matto Mildenberger

University of California, Santa Barbara - Department of Political Science

Peter D Howe

Utah State University - Department of Environment and Society

Erick Lachapelle

University of Montreal

Leah C Stokes

University of California, Santa Barbara - Department of Political Science

Jennifer R. Marlon

Yale University - School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

Timothy B. Gravelle

University of Essex - Department of Government

Date Written: February 15, 2016

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Mildenberger, Matto and Howe, Peter D and Lachapelle, Erick and Stokes, Leah C and Marlon, Jennifer R. and Gravelle, Timothy B., The Distribution of Climate Change Public Opinion in Canada (February 15, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2732935 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2732935

Matto Mildenberger (Contact Author)

University of California, Santa Barbara - Department of Political Science ( email )

Dept. of Political Science
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9420
United States

Peter D Howe

Utah State University - Department of Environment and Society ( email )

Logan, UT 84322
United States

Erick Lachapelle

University of Montreal ( email )

C.P. 6128 succursale Centre-ville
Montreal, Quebec H3C 3J7
Canada

Leah C Stokes

University of California, Santa Barbara - Department of Political Science ( email )

Dept. of Political Science
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9420
United States

Jennifer R. Marlon

Yale University - School of Forestry and Environmental Studies ( email )

New Haven, CT 06511
United States

Timothy B. Gravelle

University of Essex - Department of Government ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ, CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

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