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2010-11-29 | Peer Reviewed

Attitudes towards CO2 taxation - is there an Al Gore effect?

Löfgren, Åsa and Katarina Nordblom. 2010. “Attitudes towards CO2 taxation - is there an Al Gore effect?.” Applied Economics Letters 17:9: 845-848.
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Fuel taxes are one of the most powerful climate policies. Yet, these taxes have not been given very much attention in the global debate regarding climate policy, compared with other instruments, such as tradable emission permits. This article shows, however, that the immense media coverage during fall 2006 significantly affected people's attitudes towards the CO2 tax on gasoline.

We conducted a survey where we asked for people's opinions about the CO2 tax in September and in December 2006, i.e. before and after the release of Al Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth' and the Stern Review. We found that the attitude towards the level of the CO2 tax was significantly changed after these events; people became much more positive towards the tax. This signals that using the CO2 tax as an important climate policy becomes more politically feasible and legitimate when more attention is drawn to climate change problems.