Article

Communicating about Carbon Taxes and Emissions Trading Programs

Erick Lachapelle

in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Climate Science


Published online October 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780190228620 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228620.013.431

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In debates surrounding policy options for mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, economists of various political stripes are near unanimous in their advocacy of putting a price on carbon, whether through a tax or emissions trading program. Due to the visible costs imposed on industry and consumers, however, these policies have been resisted by carbon-intensive industries and by an ideologically divided public, producing incentives for vote-seeking politicians to avoid implementing comprehensive and stringent carbon prices within their own borders. In this highly politicized environment, and considering the more recent diffusion of market-based instruments across political jurisdictions around the world, researchers have sought to identify the conditions most favorable to implementing carbon taxes and cap-and-trade programs, the correlates of public support for these policies, and the extent to which different communication strategies may help build public support. How do experts, political leaders, and members of the public understand these policy instruments, and what specific approaches have been most successful in persuading policy makers and the public to support a price on carbon? In places that have yet to implement a carbon price, what can communication strategists learn from existing research and the experience of other jurisdictions where such policies have been successfully implemented? In places where carbon taxes or carbon cap-and-trade programs exist, how are the benefits of these policies best communicated to ensure the durability of carbon pricing policies over time?

Keywords: carbon pricing; carbon tax; emissions trading; framing; public opinion

Article.  17698 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography ; Meteorology and Climatology ; Communication Studies

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