Mobility, food and housing: responsibility, individual consumption and demand-side policies in European deep decarbonisation pathways
- 597 Downloads
The Brundtland Commission report ‘Our Common Future’ highlighted that residents in high-income countries lead lifestyles incompatible with planetary boundaries. Three decades later, consumption-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have continued to increase. To achieve ‘well below 2°C’ and 1.5 °C goals, consumption-related emissions must be substantially reduced in the coming decades. This paper provides insights on how to pursue 1.5 °C pathways through changes in household consumption. It draws on original data gathered in the project ‘HOusehold Preferences for reducing greenhouse gas Emissions in four European High Income Countries’ (HOPE) to analyse policies targeting and affecting direct and indirect GHG emissions in three household consumption categories (mobility, housing and food) in four countries (France, Germany, Norway and Sweden) and four medium-sized cities. This paper demonstrates discrepancies and similarities between current governmental policy approaches in the four countries and household perceptions of consumption changes with respect to policy mechanisms, responsibilities and space for acting on mitigation. Current demand-side policy strategies rely heavily on instruments of self-governance and nudging behaviour. Whilst some of our data suggests that households broadly accept this, it also suggests that governments could more actively lead and steer demand-side mitigation via adjusting and supplementing a comprehensive list of 20 climate policy measures currently in place in one or more of the case countries. The paper concludes by suggesting areas for more effective policy change and household-level climate change mitigation to feed the next update of climate pledges under the Paris Agreement.
KeywordsHousehold energy use Behaviour Climate change mitigation Climate policy Energy consumption Governmentality
The HOPE project is supported by the following national funding bodies under the umbrella of the Joint Program Initiative (JPI) Climate, a pan-European intergovernmental research platform: the French National Research Agency (ANR-14-JCLI-0001-03), the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (01UV1414A), the Research Council of Norway (244905/E10) and the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (214–2014-1717). Thanks to the people that contributed: household respondents; local, regional and national policymakers; and to the HOPE research team. Also, thanks to the reviewers for taking the time to provide constructive comments that helped us improved our article.
The HOPE project is supported by the following national funding bodies under the umbrella of the Joint Program Initiative (JPI) Climate, a pan-European intergovernmental research platform: the French National Research Agency (ANR-14-JCLI-0001-03), the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (01UV1414A), the Research Council of Norway (244905/E10) and the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (214–2014-1717).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Ethical approval and consent to participate
All participants were given written information about the study objectives and modalities (points of assessment, length of questionnaires), data preparation and pseudonymised data storage, the expected amount of commitment, the voluntary nature of participation and their right to withdraw at any time. Furthermore, participants were informed verbally about the study purpose and procedures and were given the chance to ask questions. All participants provided written informed consent. All countries assure that data processing and storage is done in line with European and national data protection rules. Where necessary, the study procedures were approved by an ethical committee. In Norway, the Norwegian Center for Research Data approved the study (44003). In Germany, the Institutional Review Board of the Medical Faculty by the University of Heidelberg approved the study (S-611/2015). In Sweden, the study was approved by the Regional Ethical Review Board in Umeå (2015/357-31Ö). In France, the project needed to fullfil the obligations of the CNIL (Commission Nationale Informatique et Libertés), no specific ethical approval was necessary.
- Aall, C. (2001). Local agenda 21 as means of interpreting and introducing the new policy issue of sustainable production and consumption – Experiences from seven Norwegian municipalities. In W. Lafferty (Ed.), Sustainable communities in Europe (pp. 82–100). London: Earthscan Publishers.Google Scholar
- Aall, C., & Hille, J. (2010). Consumption – A missing dimension in climate policy. In R. Bhaskar, C. Frank, K. G. Høyer, P. Naess, & J. Parker (Eds.), Interdisciplinarity and climate change: Transforming knowledge and practice for our global future (pp. 85–100). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Asdal, K., Jacobsen, E. (2009). Forbrukerens ansvar. Oslo: Cappelen Damm Akademisk.Google Scholar
- Bacchi, C. L. (2010). Foucault, policy and rule: Challenging the problem-solving paradigm. Aalborg: Institut for Historie, Internationale Studier og Samfundsforhold, Aalborg Universitet. FREIA's tekstserie, No. 74, https://doi.org/10.5278/freia.33190049
- Bäckstrand, G., & Ingelstam, L. (2006). Enough! Global challenges and responsible lifestyles. Development Dialogue, 47, 97–147.Google Scholar
- Berthoû, S. K. G. (2013). The everyday challenges of pro-environmental practices. The Journal of Transdisciplinary Environmental Studies, 12(1), 53–68.Google Scholar
- Bryman, A. (2012). Social research methods (4th Ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Dean, M. (2010). Governmentality: Power and rule in modern society. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.Google Scholar
- Foucault, M. (1991). Governmentality. In G. Burchell, C. Gordon, & P. Miller (Eds.), The Foucault effect: Studies in governmentality: With two lectures by and an interview with Michel Foucault (pp. 87–104). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Georgescu-Roegen, N. (1971). Energy and economic myths. New York: Pergannon Press.Google Scholar
- Haas, R., Eichhammer, W., Huber, C., Langniss, O., Lorenzoni, A., Madlener, R., Menanteau, P., Huber, C., Langniss, O., Lorenzoni, A., Madlener, R., Menanteau, P., Morthorst, P. E., Martins, A., Oniszk, A., Schleich, J., Smith, A., Vass, Z., & Verbruggen, A. (2004). How to promote renewable energy systems successfully and effectively. Energy Policy, 32(6), 833–839.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Herrmann, A., Fischer, H., Amelung, D., Litvine, D., Aall, C., Andersson, C., Baltruszewicz, M., Barbier, C., Bruyère, S., Bénévise, F., Dubois, G., Louis, V. R., Nilsson, M., Richardsen Moberg, K., Sköld, B., & Sauerborn, R. (2017). Household preferences for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in four European high-income countries: Does health information matter? A mixed-methods study protocol. BMC Public Health, 18(1), 71. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-017-4604-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Howell, R. (2009). The experience of carbon rationing action groups: Implications for a personal carbon allowances policy. UK Energy Research Centre, demand reduction theme. University of Oxford. http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/research/energy/archive-carbon-rationing.html. Accessed 28 October 2017.
- Høyer, K. G. (2008). Sustainable development. In D. Brune, D. Chapman, M. O. Gwynne, & J. M. Pacyna (Eds.), The global environment: Science, technology and management (pp. 1185–1205). Weinheim: VCH Publishers.Google Scholar
- Huntington, H., & Smith, E. (2011). Mitigating climate change through energy efficiency: An introduction and overview. The Energy Journal, 32(1), 1–6.Google Scholar
- IEA (2012). World Energy Outlook 2012. OECD/IEA Paris: International Energy Agency.Google Scholar
- IEA (2017). Energy Technology Perspectives 2017: Catalysing Energy Technology Transformations. OECD/IEA. Paris: International Energy Agency.Google Scholar
- IPCC (2007). Climate change 2007: Mitigation. Contribution of working group III to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change [B. Metz, O. R. Davidson, P. R. Bosch, R. Dave, L. A. Meyer (eds.)]. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- IPCC (2014). Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [O. Edenhofer, R. Pichs-Madruga, Y. Sokona, E. Farahani, S. Kadner, K. Seyboth, A. Adler, I. Baum, S. Brunner, P. Eickemeier, B. Kriemann, J. Savolainen, S. Schlömer, C. von Stechow, T. Zwickel and J. C. Minx (eds.)]. Cambridge: University Press.Google Scholar
- IPCC (2017). Chapter outline of the working group III contribution to the IPCC sixth assessment report (AR6). Forty-sixth session of the IPCC, 6–10 September 2017. Montreal:. https://www.ipcc.ch/meetings/session46/AR6_WGIII_outlines_P46.pdf. Accessed 17. April 2018.
- Jackson, T. (2006). The Earthscan reader in sustainable consumption. London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
- Knill, C., Tosun, J. (2012). Public policy: A new introduction. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Lodge, M. (2007). Comparative public policy. In F. Fischer, G. J. Miller, & M. S. Sidney (Eds.), Handbook of public policy analysis (pp. 273–288). Boca Raton: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
- Mendonça, M., Jacobs, D., & Sovacool, B. K. (2009). Powering the green economy: The feed-in tariff handbook. London; Sterling, VA: Earthscan.Google Scholar
- Millar, R., Fuglestvedt, J., Friedlingstein, P., Rogelj, J., Grubb, M., Matthews, H. D., Skeie, R. B., Forster, P. M., Frame, D. J., & Allen, M. R. (2017). Emission budgets and pathways consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C. Nature Geoscience, 10, 741–747. https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo3031.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Miller, P., & Rose, N. S. (2008). Governing the present: Administering economic, social and personal life. Reprinted. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
- Mishan, E. J. (1977). The economic growth debate: An assessment. London: G. Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
- Mol, A. P. J., Spaargaren, G., & Sonnenfeld, D. A. (2009). Ecological modernisation: Three decades of policy, practice and theoretical reflection. In A. P. J. Mol, D. A. Sonnenfeld, & G. Spaargaren (Eds.), The ecological modernisation reader: Environmental reform in theory and practice (pp. 3–14). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- OECD (2011). Climate change and tourism policies in OECD countries. OECD, UNEP. Paris: OECD, UNEP.Google Scholar
- OECD (n.d.). What are equivalence scales? OECD Project on Income Distribution and Poverty. http://www.oecd.org/eco/growth/OECD-Note-EquivalenceScales.pdf. Accessed 27 October 2017.
- Riahi, K., Kriegler, E., Johnson, N., Bertram, C., den Elzen, M., Eom, J., Schaeffer, M., Edmonds, J., Isaac, M., Krey, V., Longden, T., Luderer, G., Méjean, A., McCollum, D. L., Mima, S., Turton, H., van Vuuren, D. P., Wada, K., Bosetti, V., Capros, P., Criqui, P., Hamdi-Cherif, M., Kainuma, M., & Edenhofer, O. (2015). Locked into Copenhagen pledges? Implications of short-term emission targets for the cost and feasibility of long-term climate goals. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 90, 8–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Rogelj, J., Popp, A., Calvin, K. V., Luderer, G., Emmerling, J., Gernaat, D., Fujimori, S., Strefler, J., Hasegawa, T., Marangoni, G., Krey, V., Kriegler, E., Riahi, K., van Vuuren, D. P., Doelman, J., Drouet, L., Edmonds, J., Fricko, O., Harmsen, M., Havlík, P., Humpenöder, F., Stehfest, E., & Tavoni, M. (2018). Scenarios towards limiting global mean temperature increase below 1.5 °C. Nature Climate Change, 8(4), 325–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Ruzzenenti, F., Bertoldi, P. (2017). Energy Conservation Policies in the Light of the Energetics of Evolution. In N. Labanca (Ed.), Complex Systems and Social Practices in Energy Transitions - Framing Energy Sustainability in the Time of Renewables (147–170). Switzerland: Springer Nature.Google Scholar
- Sachs, I., Kapp, K. W., Iglesias, E. V. (1972). Development and environment: Report and working papers of a panel of experts, Founex, Switzerland, June 4–12, 1971. Paris: Mouton.Google Scholar
- Sachs, I., Ceron, J. P., Godard, O., Hourcade, J. C., Théry, D., Vallet, G., & Vinaver, K. (1973). Suggestions pour un programme environnement/développement, étude effectuée pour le programme des nations unies pour l'environnement. Paris: CIRED.Google Scholar
- Sovacool, B. K., Heffron, R. J., McCauley, D., & Goldthau, A. (2016). Energy decisions reframed as justice and ethical concerns. Nature Energy, 16024, 1–6.Google Scholar
- Stern, P. C., Janda, K. B., Brown, M. A., Steg, L., Vine, E. L., Lutzenhiser, L., Janda, K. B., Brown, M. A., Steg, L., Vine, E. L., & Lutzenhiser, L. (2016). Opportunities and insights for reducing fossil fuel consumption by households and organizations. Nature Energy, 1. https://doi.org/10.1038/nenergy.2016.43.
- The Economist (2003). A greener Bush. 13 February 2003, The Economist. http://www.economist.com/node/1576767. Accessed 27 October 2017.
- UNECE. (2010). Catalysing change: The UNECE response to the climate countdown. United Nations (UN). Belley: Imprimerie Nouvelle Gonnet.Google Scholar
- UNEP (2017). The Emissions Gap Report 2017. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Nairobi.Google Scholar
- UNFCCC (2015). Paris Agreement. United Nations. http://unfccc.int/files/essential_background/convention/application/pdf/english_paris_agreement.pdf>. Accessed 25 October 2017.
- UNFCCC (n.d.). NDC Registry (interim). United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). http://www4.unfccc.int/ndcregistry/Pages/Home.aspx. Accessed 19 October 2017.
- Utenriksdepartementet (2012). Utenfor og innenfor: Norges avtaler med EU (NOU 2012:2). Oslo: Utenriksdepartementet.Google Scholar
- Villadsen, K. 2010. Forord til den danske udgave. In M. Dean (Ed.), Governmentality. Magt og styring i det moderne samfund. Frederiksberg: Forlaget Sociologi.Google Scholar
- Voß, J., P., Newig, J., Kastens, B., Monstadt, J., & Nölting, B. (2007). Steering for sustainable development: A typology of problems and strategies with respect to ambivalence. Uncertainty and Distributed Power. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 9(3–4), 193–212.Google Scholar
- WCED. (1987). Our Common Future, World Commission on Environment and Development. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Weimer, D. L., Vining, A. R. (2016). Policy analysis (5th ed). Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Xue, J., Walnum, H. J., Aall, C., & Næss, P. (2016). Two contrasting scenarios for a zero-emission future in a high-consumption society. Sustainability, 9. https://doi.org/10.3390/su9010020.