People in Helsinki on a sunny day. LEHTIKUVA


A recent doctoral study conducted by Jukka Sivonen at the University of Turku has shed light on distinct attitudes towards carbon taxation in Nordic countries compared to the rest of Europe. Sivonen's research revealed that residents in Nordic countries show significantly higher support for carbon taxation, a trend attributed to the strong trust in political institutions prevalent in these nations.

Jukka Sivonen, a Master of Social Sciences, examined climate policy attitudes and related factors in Europe in his doctoral research at the University of Turku.

Analyzing European population survey data gathered between 2016 and 2017, Sivonen found that residents in Nordic countries exhibited higher support for carbon taxation compared to the rest of Europe. A key factor associated with this increased support was the stronger trust in political institutions at the population level, a characteristic notably robust in Nordic countries. High political trust has been linked to the relatively universal welfare services and low corruption associated with the Nordic welfare state model.

"However, Nordic countries did not differ significantly from the rest of Europe in their support for other examined climate policy measures," Sivonen noted.

At the individual level, political trust was clearly linked to support for carbon taxation across most of the examined European countries. Conversely, trust in fellow citizens did not exhibit a similarly clear connection with carbon tax attitudes in the cross-country analysis.

"A stronger alignment with leftist political ideologies was associated with higher support for carbon taxation, especially outside Eastern Europe," Sivonen explained.

In his Nordic comparison, Sivonen examined the attitudes of Finns, Norwegians, and Swedes. Across all these countries, attitudes towards carbon taxation were more closely linked to political party affiliation than occupational status. Supporters of green and leftist political parties were more likely to endorse carbon taxation, while its support was lowest among populist right-wing factions.

Based on population survey data collected in Finland in 2019, the rural-urban divide did not significantly influence climate policy attitudes. Only certain climate policy measures closely related to rural livelihoods showed lower support outside urban areas.

"Understanding climate policy attitudes is crucial for better planning of more sustainable and consistent climate policies. More insights into these attitudes can greatly aid ongoing efforts to enhance climate policy development," Sivonen emphasized.

This research provides valuable insights into the nuances of public attitudes towards climate policies, illuminating the intricate connections between political trust, ideological inclinations, and support for specific measures such as carbon taxation in diverse European contexts.