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Public Attitudes toward Climate Science and Climate Policy in Federal Systems: Canada and the United States Compared 1

By Erick Lachapelle, Christopher P. Borick and Barry Rabe


Multilevel governance poses several challenges for the politics of climate change. On the one hand, the unequal distribution of power and interests can serve as a barrier to implementing coherent policy at a federal level. On the other, these features also enable policy leadership among sub‐federal units. In the context of wide variation in climate policy at both national and sub‐federal levels in Canada and in the United States, this paper utilizes an original data set to examine public attitudes and perceptions toward climate science and climate change policy in two federal systems. Drawing on national and provincial/state level data from telephone surveys administered in the United States and in Canada, the paper provides insight into where the public stands on the climate change issue in two of the most carbon‐intensive federal systems in the world. The paper includes the first directly comparable public opinion data on how Canadians and Americans form their opinions regarding climate matters and provides insight into the preferences of these two populations regarding climate policies at both the national and sub‐federal levels. Key findings are examined in the context of growing policy experiments at the sub‐federal level in both countries and limited national level progress in the adoption of climate change legislation

Publisher: Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Year: 2012
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1541-1338.2012.00563.x
OAI identifier: oai:deepblue.lib.umich.edu:2027.42/91218

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