Public support for air travel restrictions to address COVID-19 or climate change

Elsevier, Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, Volume 93, April 2021
Kallbekken S., Saelen H.
An improved understanding of public support is essential to design effective and feasible climate policies for aviation. Our motivation is the contrast between high support for air travel restrictions responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and low support for restrictions to combat climate change. Can the same factors explain individuals’ support for restrictive measures across two different problems? Using a survey, we find that largely the same factors explain support. Support increases with expected effectiveness, perceived threat and imminence of the problem, shorter expected duration of the measure, knowledge, and trust, while support decreases with expected negative consequences for self and the poor. When controlling for all perceptions, there is no significant residual difference in support depending on whether the measures address climate change or COVID-19. The level of support differs because COVID-19 is perceived as a more imminent threat, and because measures are expected to be shorter-lasting and more effective.