English title: Political trust and the relationship between climate change beliefs and support for fossil fuel taxes: Evidence from a survey of 23 European countries
Author(s): Malcolm Fairbrother - Ingemar Johansson Sevä - Joakim Kulin -
Type: Journal article
Taxes on fossil fuels could be a useful policy tool for governments seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, such taxes are politically challenging to introduce, as public opinion is usually hostile to them. Prior studies have found that attitudes toward carbon and other environmental taxes reflect not just people's beliefs and concerns about the problems these taxes address, but also their trust in their country's politicians and political system. Using multilevel models fitted to data collected in 2016 on 42,401 individuals in 23 European countries, we show for the first time that these two factors interact. Among Europeans who distrust their country's politicians, political parties, and parliament, or who live in countries with low levels of political trust, being aware and concerned about climate change is at most weakly associated with support for taxes on fossil fuels. Europeans with high political trust, on the other hand, tend to be much more supportive of fossil fuel taxes if they also believe in the reality and dangers of anthropogenic climate change. Cross-nationally, the nations whose populations are most supportive of higher taxes on fossil fuels are not those that are more aware and concerned about climate change; rather, they are those with the highest levels of political trust.
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Journal: Global Environmental Change