Public support for climate change mitigation and eco-social policies in Europe: the role of social justice considerations in legitimising and promoting the transition to low-carbon societies
In the face of accelerating global warming and attendant natural disasters, it seems that governments all over the world eventually have to take measures mitigating the most adverse consequences of climate change. However, such measures are likely to be opposed if they do not reflect public attitudes. To better understand attitudes towards climate change mitigation policies (CMP), and in particular what influences support of them, scholars have identified various factors. Surprisingly, little research has paid attention to social justice considerations as an influential factor. This is astonishing given that several scholars suggest that CMP are likely to affect poor individuals disproportionately. The proposed research seeks to fill this gap by a novel survey investigating how support for various CMP depends on social justice considerations. Additionally, governments will want to counteract the socially adverse side-effects of CMP, which might give rise to new fairness discussions. Existing research on such “ecosocial policies” is limited to theory and studies stressing need for these policies. However, it is unclear which of these policies are particularly popular and how social justice consideration and other factors influence their public acceptance. Therefore, another aim of the project is to explore attitudes towards eco-social policies, how individuals rank social welfare and the mitigation of climate change, and how this varies across national contexts.