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Making carbon pricing work for citizens


  • David Klenert

    (Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change)

  • Linus Mattauch

    (University of Oxford
    University of Oxford)

  • Emmanuel Combet

    (Centre International de Recherche sur l’Environnement et le Développement (CIRED)
    French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME))

  • Ottmar Edenhofer

    (Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change
    Potsdam-Institute for Climate Impact Research
    Technical University of Berlin)

  • Cameron Hepburn

    (University of Oxford
    University of Oxford
    London School of Economics)

  • Ryan Rafaty

    (University of Oxford
    University of Cambridge)

  • Nicholas Stern

    (London School of Economics)


The gap between actual carbon prices and those required to achieve ambitious climate change mitigation could be closed by enhancing the public acceptability of carbon pricing through appropriate use of the revenues raised. In this Perspective, we synthesize findings regarding the optimal use of carbon revenues from both traditional economic analyses and studies in behavioural and political science that are focused on public acceptability. We then compare real-world carbon pricing regimes with theoretical insights on distributional fairness, revenue salience, political trust and policy stability. We argue that traditional economic lessons on efficiency and equity are subsidiary to the primary challenge of garnering greater political acceptability and make recommendations for enhancing political support through appropriate revenue uses in different economic and political circumstances.

Suggested Citation

  • David Klenert & Linus Mattauch & Emmanuel Combet & Ottmar Edenhofer & Cameron Hepburn & Ryan Rafaty & Nicholas Stern, 2018. "Making carbon pricing work for citizens," Nature Climate Change, Nature, vol. 8(8), pages 669-677, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:nat:natcli:v:8:y:2018:i:8:d:10.1038_s41558-018-0201-2
    DOI: 10.1038/s41558-018-0201-2

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