Hilary has current studies on the following topics:

Public Perceptions of Extreme Weather Events

Interventions Designed to Encourage Household Energy Conservation

Hilary is part of the following research networks:

Renewable energy siting in the West


The goal of this project (with Brent Steel) is to understand the factors and processes that spark local community mobilization in the context of renewable energy siting by undertaking a comparative-case analysis of communities in the Western U.S. that have been slated for development.

Project funded by:


Public perceptions of unconventional oil and gas development


The goal of this line of research (with Chris Clarke and others) is to examine public perceptions of unconventional oil and gas development via high volume hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) using nationally representative survey data. Our Energy Policy piece on this topic reached the most downloaded in the journal.

Public participation in the siting of liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals in Oregon


The goal of this project is to produce a set of recommendations for the design of effective public participation processes based on a comparative-case analysis of LNG siting in Astoria and Coos Bay.

Project funded by:


Mapping the shadow of experience of extreme weather events

The goal of this project (with Peter Howe) is to investigate (1) the correspondence of reported experience of extreme weather events with documented events and (2) how characteristics of different extreme events shape the geographic area within which people are likely to report they have experienced it. Our article in Climatic Change showed the public tends to accurately recall and report experiences with discrete events like hurricanes and tornadoes but struggle more with slow-onset hazards like droughts. Indeed, only after 25 weeks of severe drought do a majority of people consider themselves to have personally experienced it.

Community Reactions to Extreme Weather Events


The goal of this project (with Doug McAdam) is to understand under what conditions and via what mechanisms communities undertake significant climate-related actions – in terms of collective mobilization and governmental policy – following an extreme weather event.

Project funded by:


Girls Learning Environment and Energy (GLEE)

The goal of this project (with Tom Robinson, Nicole Ardoin, Carrie Armel and June Flora) was to design and implement a community-based intervention to reduce household energy use. We conducted a successful randomized controlled trial with 30 Girl Scout troops to assess two behavior change interventions focused on energy use in (1) residences and (2) for food and transportation.

The results, published in Nature Energy, demonstrate that a behavioral intervention targeting Girl Scouts can improve their energy conservation behaviors and provides evidence of diffusion of behavior changes from children to their parents/families. We have since developed an online course to help troop leaders implement our energy-saving programs with their own troops.

Project funded by: