Thursday, October 14, 2021

Climate Change: UKanians supports cuts

The Guardian reports a study on emissions reduction policy from the UK, which found that UKanians overwhelmingly support stronger action than their government:

The UK public backs a carbon tax on polluting industries, higher levies on flying and grants for heat pumps in order to tackle the climate crisis, according to the biggest analysis of policy preferences ever published.

Almost 22,000 people chose their favoured mix of policies to hit the government’s 2030 target for emissions cuts. A speed limit of 60mph on motorways and a campaign to reduce meat eating by 10% were also among the most popular measures, all of which had between 77% and 94% public support.

The public went further than the government, choosing to surpass the current carbon target by 3%. Age, location and political leaning made little difference to the policy choices, the researchers found, with an “overwhelming consensus” for strong and fair climate action.

The policy mix was chosen through an online calculator which let users tweak the settings on six main policies with an explicit goal of meeting or exceeding the UK's stated climate target. There's an aspect of push-polling here, both in the policies chosen (why those, and not others?) and in the stated aim, though it also says upfront that some people may not agree with that goal, and it certainly gives data on policy preferences from among the policies on offer.

This seems like something that could be done in Aotearoa as part of the required consultations for our emissions reduction plan (though even with the delay, its probably too late to do it for this budget). There are obvious variables that can be tweaked - ETS unit supply, bringing agriculture in, stocking limits, EV uptake - and there's a good domestic example from the Transport 2030 Auckland emissions calculator. And it would certainly give useful feedback on what rough sort of policy mix people preferred, as well as showing people how easy or hard some types of cuts are.