Defining Canadian Perspectives on Climate Change Science and Solutions

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Courtney Rieger and James M Byrne, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, AB, Canada
Despite the overwhelming scientific evidence of potentially disastrous change in global climate, little is being accomplished in climate mitigation or adaptation in Canada. The energy sector in Canada is still primarily oil and gas, with huge tax breaks to the industry in spite of well known harmful regional and global impacts of fossil fuel pollution. One of the largest concerns for the climate science community is the variable and often complacent attitude many Canadians share on the issue of climate change.

The objective herein is twofold: (1) a survey tool will be used to assess the views and opinions of Canadians on climate change science and solutions; (2) develop better communication methods for industry, government and NGOs to share the science and solutions with the public. The study results will inform the Canadian public, policy makers and industry of practical, effective changes needed to address climate change challenges. A survey of Canadiansperspectives is an important step in policy changing research. The climate research and application community must know the most effective ways to communicate the science and solutions with a public that is often resistant to change. The AGU presentation will feature the results of the survey, while continued work into 2015 will be towards advancing communication.

This study is both timely and crucial for science communicators in understanding how Canadians view climate change, considering, for example, devastatingly extreme weather being experienced of late and its effect on the economy. The results will assist in recognizing how to encourage Canadians to work towards a more sustainable and resilient energy sector in Canada and abroad.