Tipping the balance: Lessons on building support for carbon pricing

Placing a credible price on carbon has enormous potential to spur low-carbon growth and drive deep decarbonization. Yet, while several countries have succeeded in securing broad public support for strong carbon prices, in other countries, these policies have met with major resistance. In France, opposition by the “yellow vests” to the carbon tax resulted in it being frozen, while in Australia and the Canadian province of Ontario, carbon prices were repealed following changes in government.

What is it that has enabled some countries to succeed in winning support for ambitious carbon prices, while other efforts have foundered? This is the question posed (and answered) by the report Tipping the balance – Lessons on building support for carbon pricing.

Prepared by Climate Focus together with our partners, adelphi and Perspectives Climate Group, the report analyses six case studies of carbon pricing implementation, including those that have achieved broad acceptance and those that have not. The authors identify both the policy design factors – such as ensuring fairness and limiting negative impacts on vulnerable groups – and the communication and engagement approaches that enable governments to both gain and maintain support for their carbon prices over time.

Through identifying a concise set of lessons from existing cases, the report provides concrete, actionable advice for governments considering adopting carbon prices, or strengthening their existing policies.