Increasing climate policy ambitions create tensions in societies with low trust and social divisions, as shown by the Yellow Vests movement that successfully opposed a carbon tax in France. We study preferences for policies to achieve energy security and climate change mitigation goals in the context of the energy crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We conducted a discrete choice experiment on a representative sample of 10,000 people in Poland, a country heavily dependent on fossil fuels. Using a willingness-to-pay approach, we find a solid aversion to a carbon tax that is only moderately alleviated by redistribution policies. Income and age matter for preferences regarding climate and energy. People with low incomes (bottom quartile) value achieving climate change (15%) and energy security (10%) goals less than the general population (17% and 14% willingness to pay, respectively). Younger people (aged 18-34) are willing to sacrifice more income to mitigate climate change than people aged 55 or more (28% vs 12%) but are less willing to forego income (11% vs 16%) to reduce fuel imports from Russia. Consequently, we quantify the heterogeneity of preferences regarding redistribution measures and evaluate their efficiency. We provide an example of using discrete choice experiments to mitigate the risks of social tensions due to introducing a carbon tax.
We thank Katarzyna Lipowska, Karol Madoń, Joanna Mazurkiewicz and Mateusz Smoter for their insightful comments. The European Climate Foundation financially supported this paper. The usual disclaimers apply. All errors are ours.
Institute for Structural Research (IBS), Institute of Philosophy and Sociology Polish Academy of Sciences