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Citizens' perceptions of justice in international climate policy: an empirical analysis

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  • Joachim Schleich
  • Elisabeth Dütschke
  • Claudia Schwirplies
  • Andreas Ziegler

Abstract

Relying on a recent survey of more than 3400 participants from China, Germany, and the US, this article empirically analyses citizens' perceptions of key guiding principles for sharing mitigation costs across countries, justification of climate policy and trust in climate policy. Our findings suggest that the ranking of the main principles for burden-sharing is identical in China, Germany, and the US: accountability followed by capability, egalitarianism, and sovereignty. Thus, on a general level, citizens across these countries seem to have a common (normative) understanding of fairness. We therefore find no evidence that citizens' (stated) fairness preferences are detrimental to future burden-sharing agreements. In all three countries a majority of citizens considers international climate policy to be justified, but citizens' perceptions differ across specific items and countries. Finally, a substantial portion of citizens in all countries exhibit a lack of trust in international climate agreements. Policy relevance Disagreement over the distribution of mitigation costs across countries is blocking current negotiations about a new international climate change agreement to be adopted in 2015. At the heart of this disagreement are different perceptions of distributive justice among those involved in climate policy making. Our findings show that there is no difference in the ranking of fairness principles across citizens in China, Germany, and the US, suggesting that the common ground for crafting a future agreement is larger than expected. In particular, the accountability principle should weigh heavily when deciding on the burden-sharing. In addition, our findings suggest that in order to gain support among citizens, international climate policy may need to take measures to improve trust.

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  • Joachim Schleich & Elisabeth Dütschke & Claudia Schwirplies & Andreas Ziegler, 2016. "Citizens' perceptions of justice in international climate policy: an empirical analysis," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(1), pages 50-67, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:tcpoxx:v:16:y:2016:i:1:p:50-67
    DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2014.979129
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    Cited by:

    1. Matthew Winden & Eric Jamelske & Endre Tvinnereim, 2018. "A contingent valuation study comparing citizen’s willingness-to-pay for climate change Mitigation in China and the United States," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 20(2), pages 451-475, April.
    2. Joachim Schleich & Claudia Schwirplies & Andreas Ziegler, 2014. "Private provision of public goods: Do individual climate protection efforts depend on perceptions of climate policy?," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201453, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    3. Kahmann, Birte & Stumpf, Klara Helene & Baumgärtner, Stefan, 2015. "Notions of justice held by stakeholders of the Newfoundland fishery," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 37-50.
    4. Shaun Larcom & Terry Gevelt, 2019. "Do Voluntary Commons Associations Deliver Sustainable Grazing Outcomes? An Empirical Study of England," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 73(1), pages 51-74, May.
    5. Elke D. Groh & Andreas Ziegler, 2017. "On self-interested preferences for burden sharing rules: An econometric analysis for the costs of energy policy measures," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201754, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    6. Claudia Schwirplies & Andreas Ziegler, 2015. "Offset carbon emissions or pay a price premium for avoiding them? A cross-country analysis of motives for climate protection activities," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201504, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    7. Lea S. Svenningsen, 2019. "Social preferences for distributive outcomes of climate policy," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 157(2), pages 319-336, November.
    8. Groh, Elke D. & Ziegler, Andreas, 2018. "On self-interested preferences for burden sharing rules: An econometric analysis for the costs of energy policy measures," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 417-426.

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