According to a new study published in the prestigious journal Nature Climate Change, when international trade damages people economically, they become less concerned about environmental issues. An international research team, including Charlotte Sophia Bez, a PhD student at the Sant'Anna School, shows that economic shocks make people more dubious about climate change, leading to a decline in support for sustainable and green policies.
The study examined how exposure to trade affects voting, regionally and individually, and people's attitudes. The analysis covers the United States and 15 Western European countries over the period from 2000 to 2019.
The research team found that greater exposure to trade leads to lower environmental party support and more skeptical attitudes toward climate change. Exposure to trade may cause people to support political parties that are less supportive of increased globalization and tend to downplay climate change issues.
"Our results suggest that reducing the unequal impacts of international trade is crucial to strengthening support for environmental policies in Western democracies", comments Charlotte Sophia Bez, principal author of the study. One solution proposed in the study examines the carbon border adjustment mechanism: this could help prevent further worsening of the socioeconomic situation of trade-exposed groups and generate revenue that could be used to compensate vulnerable households.