Climate risk perceptions in the Ontario (Canada) electricity sector
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This thesis examines management cognition of climate risks in the electricity sector in Ontario (Canada). Risk perception literature is combined with corporate adaptation and risk management literature to offer a broad conceptual framework of climate risk readiness among power producers and utilities. This research aims to move management cognition of climate change past prior contributions which considered climate risk as being solely physical in nature. In this work, eight exogenous and endogenous factors relating to climate risk are examined for their influence on how management may view a wider spectrum of climate change impacts. Using an inductive research approach, 20 in depth case studies explore how electricity executives/senior managers perceive those risks using construct elicitation (repertory grid technique). Findings are triangulated with a narrative analysis of their corporate reportage of climate risks, to gain deeper insight into the complex phenomena of climate risks for the sector. Findings show some similarities and some appreciable differences in both groups’ view of climate risks despite their legitimately contending positions in industry. Overall both power producers and utilities are predominantly concerned with risk analysis and assessment of climate related risks, and less with risk response, suggesting at present the sector remains in an analytical state. The potential benefits of this research approach will provide useful insights to multiple groups including managers and policy makers.