Looking for a specific product?

Make a search for products & suppliers, articles & news.

Making climate taxes more palatable

It is difficult to find climate policy instruments that are both effective and have the backing of the general public.

Economists and politicians prefer to avoid earmarking of tax revenues because it limits their ability to prioritise discretionary spending in the longer term.

  “But the politicians should nonetheless consider earmarking revenues, for instance to make it easier to implement new climate measures,” says Steffen Kallbekken, who is Research Director at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research - Oslo (CICERO). He headed the project “Designing feasible and efficient climate policies”, which received funding from the Research Council of Norway’s Large-scale Programme on Climate Change and its Impacts in Norway (NORKLIMA).

Accepting higher fuel tax

“In a nationwide survey we conducted, a majority of Norwegians initially responded that fuel taxes should be cut by NOK 1 per litre. But when we told survey respondents that the fuel tax would be targeted towards a specific environmental objective, the majority stated they would support raising Norwegian fuel taxes by NOK 1. Politicians would do well to take note of this finding.”

(Photo: CICERO) Furthermore, a focus group study carried out under the project showed that, compared to people in other countries, Norwegians in general are less sceptical of environmental taxes and have more confidence in the authorities in this sphere.

Experience leads to positive attitudes

Dr Kallbekken also conducted laboratory experiments that showed that personal experience makes people more positive towards measures. This was also the case with the introduction of Stockholm’s extra toll on rush-hour traffic. Most people were hesitant regarding a toll of this type on roads into the downtown area. But within a few months of the toll’s introduction on a trial basis, people experienced its benefits: less noise and pollution, and fewer accidents. In the follow-up referendum, a majority voted to make the toll permanent.

Dr Kallbekken believes politicians should be aware of the following points when devising climate policy:

  • Earmarking of funds for specific purposes has a major impact on acceptance. 
  • People often develop more positive attitudes after direct experience.
  •  Better information to the public about what the monies will be used for can be an effective way to gain acceptance for higher environmental taxes – particularly if earmarked for specific environmental measures.

People want a choice

“In the project we confirmed that people resent it when the authorities don’t give them a choice in matters,” continues Dr Kallbekken. “We see a strong correlation between a measure’s lack of popularity and the degree to which it limits people’s choice.”

“If the people are instead given greater choice, it can lead to more support. One example is further investment in public transport, because this can offer greater choice in mode of transport. The result can be more public backing for investing in public transport.”

“The key to gaining public acceptance is ensuring that people feel they’ll get something in return. So if politicians want to muster support for climate and environmental measures, they need to use a balanced combination of carrot and stick. If people feel they are being railroaded into something, they will react negatively.”

 

Related news

Latest news

New technical trainee blogpost: Furnaces, pumps and robots

Adam has just finished his second trainee rotation in Kristiansand

The Norwegian network of United Nations Global Compact launched today

Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of the UNGC,

DNV GL and Goldwind join forces on development of digital certification tools

MyCertificate is the first digital certification solution for wind turbines,

DNV GL leads consortium to update Carbon Trust Floating LiDAR Roadmap

DNV GL, the world’s largest resource of independent energy experts and certification body,

PRESS RELEASE: Servogear to propel Asian built windfarm vessels

The contract with Cheoy Lee Shipyards was signed in Q2 2018.

SERVICEBULLETIN: Grease filling of the propeller system

SERVICEBULLETIN 180921: Grease filling of the propeller system

FILM: The world´s first HD220 gearbox returns for an overhauling

The gearbox has been operating flawlessly for more than 20.000 hours...

Øveraasen delivers machine number 66 to New York

Totally over the last ten years, 

DNV GL commission worlds largest industrial explosion chamber at Spadeadam Research and Testing

The chamber supports not only a joint industry project ...