PAOC Colloquium: Matto Mildenberger
Title: Geographic variation in climate and energy opinions at state and local scales
Abstract: Decision makers need locally relevant information about the physical impacts of climate change to inform mitigation and adaptation efforts. In response, climate scientists have developed a variety of methods to downscale climate change projections from global models to finer regional and local scales. Mitigation and adaptation initiatives also depend heavily on social factors such as levels of public awareness, risk perceptions, policy support and knowledge of appropriate behavioural responses. However, while these critical social data are often available at the national scale (for example, national surveys), they rarely exist at the sub-national levels required by scientists and policy makers. In this way, public opinion data obscures geographic variability across regions, states and localities. In this talk, I discuss new methods to generate independently validated high-resolution opinion estimates at state and local scales. These estimates provide an important new source of information for policymakers, educators and scientists to more effectively address the challenges of climate change I also introduce a companion dataset of spatially resolved climate and clean energy opinions among political partisans. This data similarly visualizes substantial heterogeneity in the climate beliefs of both Republicans and Democrats at state and local scales.