Policies to address climate change have been historically difficult to implement.
The OECD and The Social Economics Lab at Harvard teamed up to understand why, and surveyed over 40 000 respondents across 20 of the world’s most carbon-emitting countries (representing 72% of global CO2 emissions).
By addressing citizen's concerns, governments can help build public support for urgently needed climate action.
Green alternatives to polluting technologies need to be made widely available via public infrastructure (e.g. public transport) and subsidies for adoption (heat pumps, electric vehicles) targeted at exposed households.
Many people already support policies like:
Making public transport widely available increases support for bans of combustion engine cars by about 10% on average across all countries.
Opposition to climate policies is in fact correlated with “carbon dependence”: lack of public transport, car usage and (to a lesser extent) gasoline expenditure.
Higher levels of education and having children are correlated with higher support, across countries. But overall, socio-economic factors are less important in predicting policy support compared to “carbon dependence”.
The perception that a climate policy may be regressive explains much of the lack of support. This is particularly true for energy taxation and carbon pricing.
Since support for carbon taxes strongly depends on revenue use, carbon pricing can receive strong support from citizens if:
A key finding of this report is that communicating information to the public on how climate policies work increases policy support, especially for policies for which support is low – such as carbon taxes.
Information campaigns should explain: