Monday, November 13, 2023
5:15 PM - 6:45 PM
Key Drivers and Barriers of Pro-Climate Behaviour in Canada: Findings from Three Survey Experiments
Session ID
Poster Presentations
Behavior - based Programs

Governments across the world are taking steps to enact pro-climate policy but mobilizing populations to make the necessary changes to their behaviour is an enduring challenge. We present results from three survey-based experiments that explore ways that people are predictably and systematically derailed from achieving socially and individually beneficial outcomes related to climate change. There are vast discrepancies between government targets for zero emission vehicle (ZEV) sales and current rates of engagement, even among those who intend to act. Charger availability, range anxiety, underestimation of performance, and overestimation of costs emerged as key barriers to uptake. Further analysis indicated that shifting relevant beliefs and these barriers can shift Canadians’ interest in adopting ZEVs but that visual advertisements are insufficient to meaningfully shift intentions in this domain. A second study built on previous research on emotionally evocative communications that has identified their effectiveness alongside risks of backfire effects. We explore whether emotions can be effectively evoked using climate-focused visual communications, and whether they can lead to greater support for pro-climate policies and greater intent to engage in pro-climate behaviour. This approach is combined with a latent class analysis that effectively predicts attitudes on several related measures relevant for strategic communications. Finally, we examined potential barriers and drivers of heat pump adoption and attitudes towards electric home heating. We found that those who install a home heating system for urgent reasons, such as a system breakdown, are less likely to take advantage of government incentives, tend to have significantly lower household incomes, and are significantly less likely to adopt a heat pump. In a further exploration of self-reported barriers to heat pump adoption, we discovered that Canadians appeared to share greater misgivings about the reliability and continued affordability of electricity for home heating relative to the upfront cost of heat pumps.

Supporting Document 1