What Determines Climate Policy Preferences if Reducing Greenhouse-Gas Emissions Is a Global Public Good?

Many international policy problems, including climate change, have been characterized as global public goods. We adopt this theoretical framework to identify the baseline determinants of individual opinion about climate policy. The model implies that support for climate action will be increasing in future benefits, their timing, and the probability that a given country's contribution will make a difference while decreasing in expected costs. Utilizing original surveys in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States, we provide evidence that expected benefits, costs, and the probability of successful provision as measured by the contribution of other nations are critical for explaining support for climate action. Notably, we find no evidence that the temporality of benefits shapes support for climate action. These results indicate that climate change may be better understood as a static rather than a dynamic public goods problem and suggest strategies for designing policies that facilitate climate cooperation.