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Citizens' perceptions of justice in international climate policy: An empirical analysis

: Schleich, Joachim; Dütschke, Elisabeth; Schwirplies, Claudia; Ziegler, Andreas


Climate Policy 16 (2016), Nr.1, S.50–67
ISSN: 1469-3062
ISSN: 1752-7457
Fraunhofer ISI ()
burden sharing; climate change policies; distributive justice; equity; justice

Relying on a recent survey of more than 3400 participants from China, Germany, and the US, this article empirically analyses citizens' perceptions of key guiding principles for sharing mitigation costs across countries, justification of climate policy and trust in climate policy. Our findings suggest that the ranking of the main principles for burden-sharing is identical in China, Germany, and the US: accountability followed by capability, egalitarianism, and sovereignty. Thus, on a general level, citizens across these countries seem to have a common (normative) understanding of fairness. We therefore find no evidence that citizens' (stated) fairness preferences are detrimental to future burden-sharing agreements. In all three countries a majority of citizens considers international climate policy to be justified, but citizens' perceptions differ across specific items and countries. Finally, a substantial portion of citizens in all countries exhibit a lack of trust in international climate agreements.