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How can we improve support in Spain for public policies proposing to fight climate change?

Maria Rubio Juan, Melanie Revilla, André Pirralha and Wiebke Weber, RECSM-Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Winning article of the Call to support social research projects based on the conducting of surveys, 2019.

Climate change has become an important concern around the world. Ultimately, the support of citizens is decisive if we are to successfully tackle the social challenge that this phenomenon poses. Therefore, it is essential to understand what bears influence on public support for climate change policies, in order to improve their design and their success.
Key points
  • 1
       The level of support from citizens is very different according to the type of measure involved: while only around one third of those surveyed give support to banning polluting cars and to the tax on carbon emissions, around two thirds actively support the water policy.
  • 2
       The most important factor that explains the support for both measures relating to cars and water is their perceived effectiveness. In other words, people are prepared to give support to a policy geared towards achieving a desired result (for example, reducing CO2 emissions or water consumption) if they have the perception that the policy will be truly effective, even if it represents or demands a significant change in habits.
  • 3
       People living in Spain are more receptive to a carbon tax if it takes into account the citizens’ diverse economic capabilities and if its introduction is combined with a reduction in other taxes.
  • 4
       Success when implementing public policies can be improved if we correctly define the target audience and we design differentiated actions, according to whether citizens are directly affected by the measure or not.
Degree of support to the ban on polluting cars according to five factors
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