Public acceptance is necessary for a successful introduction of climate policies
Niklas Harring´s research focuses on attitudes to pro-environmental policy instruments and he is trying to understand people´s support for and rejection of climate taxes in different countries. One of his conclusions so far is that people seem to reject such policies in corrupt contexts. Niklas is Research Coordinator within CeCAR.
Why is collective action research so important?
Human societies are facing many several crucial challenges, such as climate change, rapid biodiversity loss, increased antimicrobial resistance. These problems are very complex, but I think that applying a collective action framework can help us understand them and also to develop potential solutions. Despite the complexity and the diversity of involved actors, they all contain collective action characteristics in the sense that some will have to make short-term individual sacrifices to generate collective goods.
I believe that public acceptance or consent is necessary for a successful introduction of climate policies. If there is no popular support, there is risk of people not complying with policy or protesting against them.
What are you currently researching at CeCAR?
Much of my own research focuses on understanding people's support or acceptance of political governance in the climate area. Much of the research that is available is made in a small number of countries in Northern Europe and North America. We need to know more about the support in other parts of the world and to what extent previous findings are generalizable to other contexts, so at the moment I am trying to understand support for and rejection of climate taxes in different countries. One conclusion is that people seem to reject such policies in corrupt contexts.
What impact will this research have on our society?
I believe that public acceptance or consent is necessary for a successful introduction of climate policies. If there is no popular support, there is a risk of people not complying with policy or protesting against them, which we saw examples of after the introduction of climate measures in France. The yellow vest protests have several explanations but one thing that was highlighted among the protesters was that these climate measures affected those with lower incomes more than those with higher incomes. With the Paris agreement, more countries will introduce climate policy measures and my research shows that the support for certain measures (including environmental taxes) vary greatly between countries. One plausible conclusion is that there is no “silver bullet policy” which we can introduce in all contexts.
Niklas Harring, Sverker C. Jagers, Simon Matti. (2018). The significance of political culture, economic context and instrument type for climate policy support: a cross-national study, Climate Policy, 19(5): 636-650.
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