Fossil fuels, employment, and support for climate policies

Citation:

Endre Tvinnereim and Elisabeth Ivarsflaten. 2016. “Fossil Fuels, Employment, and Support for Climate Policies.” Energy Policy , 96: 364–371. Publisher's Version

Abstract:

We know that the costs of implementing various climate change mitigation policies are not uniformly distributed across individuals in society, but we do not know to what extent this unequal cost distribution influences public support for these various policies. This study shows that cost distribution is an important explanation for variations in public support for various climate policies. Using individual-level data on industry of employment and support for a range of climate policies, we find that those employed in the fossil fuel industry are less likely to support climate policies that are particularly costly to their industry, but are as likely as everybody else to support policies with lower costs to the industry. This finding challenges the traditional bifurcation between climate change "skeptics" and "acceptors." Furthermore, we find that opposition to renewable energy by large fossil fuel producers and consumers, identified in the political economy literature, is not uniformly found among these companies’ employees. The most important implication of this study for policy makers is that support for climate policies is sensitive to the compensation of exposed groups and stimulation of alternative avenues for employment.