Motive Project

Article alert: Assessment of community preference rankings of potential environmental effects of climate change

by: Ulla Vänttinen

Williamson, T.B., Watson, D.O.T., 2010. Assessment of community preference rankings of potential environmental effects of climate change using the method of paired comparisons. Climatic Change 99 (3), pp. 589-612.

The preference rankings of a rural population in central British Columbia, Canada of potential environmental effects of climate change were assessed using the psychometric method of paired comparison. The survey results were used to develop an interval scale for eight hypothetical, but potential, environmental effects including major and minor impacts to water and fish, forest ecosystems, wildlife, and scenic and recreation. Interval scales were developed for the total sample as well as sub-samples made up of females, males, town residents, non-town residents, respondents with high school or less education, and respondents with at least some post-secondary education. Major impacts on water and fish were considered to be the most serious effects followed by major impacts on forest ecosystems and major impacts on wildlife. Major effects on scenic and recreation were ranked below minor effects on water and fish. Responses from the sub-samples were similar with some minor deviations. For example, females ranked major impacts on wildlife higher than males, and males ranked major impact on scenic and recreation higher than females. However, the overall rankings of females and males were highly correlated. This study showed climate change effects on environmental goods and services in terms of human preferences. A human preferences perspective (combined with biophysical assessments) is required for determining local adaptation priorities and for guiding impacts and adaptation research. The methodology and approach has potential for broader application.

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