Public Preferences for Climate Change Policies: Evidence from Spain
Spain faces a complex situation regarding its climate change policies. Since 1990, Spain’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have increased far beyond the Kyoto commitments. Moreover, Spain is likely to suffer significant adverse impacts from climate change. However, there has been little action to reduce GHG emissions, particularly in the area of energy prices. Although the Spanish public generally shows great concern about climate change, it has traditionally opposed price increases for energy. In this paper we offer an explanation of this paradox, and we provide a possible strategy for policy design. We find that Spanish households favor reducing GHG emissions from electricity production and would be willing to pay for this if it promotes new, greener technologies and if it eventually lowers the cost of those technologies in the future. This finding emerges from a contingent valuation survey which also provides a rich set of information on households’ attitudes regarding various policy options for reducing GHG gases.