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Conférence "What Shapes Attitudes about Energy Transition? Evidence from Alberta", par Melanee Thomas (University of Calgary)

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.


Organisé par la Chaire de recherche en études électorales et la Chaire de recherche du Canada en démocratie électorale.


DATE : Mardi 12 novembre, 12h-13h


LIEU : Salle C-4145, Pavillon Lionel-Groulx, 3150 rue Jean-Brillant