A team of IWÖ researchers led by Martina Rothenberger and Rolf Wüstenhagen took a closer look at the recent referendum against Switzerland’s revised CO2 law. Their particular focus was on the influence of emotional dynamics on the perception of costs and benefits of climate policy.
Contrary to high initial approval rates, the revision of the CO2 law was rejected by 51.6 % of voters on June 13, 2021. How did this opinion swing come about, and what can be learned for designing energy and climate policies that are contested in a referendum campaign? Based on a representative survey of Swiss voters (N=757), the researchers suggest that negative emotions currently prevail, whereas motivating voters for climate policy measures requires taking a closer look at co-benefits such as health, energy independence or the pleasure of low-carbon travel. Furthermore, a majority of voters overestimated the cost of the planned aviation tax, and were unaware of the financial benefits of redistribution of CO2 taxes.
Author: Doris Hoevel
Date: 27. August 2021