Tuesday Seminar – 12 November, 2019
12 November 2019 • 12:00 12 November 2019 • 13:00
Pavillon Lionel-Groulx, Local C-4145
Tuesday November 12, 2019 : Melanee Thomas (University of Calgary). “What Shapes Attitudes about Energy Transition? Evidence from Alberta”. Pavillon Lionel-Groulx, Université de Montréal, C-4145, 12h-13h.
Abstract: Energy transition – that is, moving away from fossil fuels as a source of energy to more renewable and sustainable forms – is, according to some scholars, “technically feasible, but politically impossible” (Bernauer and McGrath 2016: 680) as democratic politics produce constraints that may stymie the adoption of low(er) carbon energy. Indeed, current events, including reactions to the 2019 federal election, show that aspects of Canadian identity affect views about if, when, and how best to transition to a low-carbon economy. This paper addresses two questions. First, how is public opinion about energy transition structured by existing attitudes about politics and/or climate change? Second, how malleable are those opinions? Using a survey experiment conducted in Alberta immediately following their 2019 provincial election, results show that the factors that produce support for, and opposition to energy transition are diverse and, at times, inconsistent and unexpected. Furthermore, these opinions appear to be malleable when exposed to news about the positive (and negative) economic effects of transition, as well as Indigenous support (and opposition) to the expansion of fossil fuel extraction. This suggests that attitudes about energy transition should be seen as at least somewhat distinct from attitudes about climate change.
This content has been updated on 6 November 2019 at 14 h 20 min.