Public perceptions and support of renewable energy in North America in the context of global climate change

Bjoern Hagen, David Pijawka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


There is substantial interest in developing a coherent and effective North American renewable energy policy as a way to secure energy but also to mitigate global climate change. Based on surveys of the public in Canada, Mexico, and the United States, the article shows the levels of concern over climate change threats, perceived risk, knowledge of climate change policies, levels of uncertainty, and other perception factors to help understand the relationships between public perceptions and policy preferences for renewable energy. Results show national differences between the three countries in nearly all climate change perceptions, with Mexico reflecting the highest levels of concern and the United States the lowest. Mexico also shows the greatest support for renewable energy sources. However, the results show very high levels of uncertainty about climate change dimensions concerning risk, science, and knowledge and the effectiveness of policy approaches. The data demonstrate strong statistical correlations between risk perception factors and preferences for mitigation policies in the form of renewable energy policies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-398
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 24 2015


  • Climate change
  • Cross-national comparison
  • Environmental policy
  • North America
  • Public perceptions
  • Renewable energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Safety Research


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