Back to search

KLIMAFORSK-Stort program klima

Peoples Climate Research: The Contribution of Households to Climate Change Mitigation

Alternative title: Folkets klimaforskning: husholdningenes bidrag til reduksjon av klimagassutslipp

Awarded: NOK 3.7 mill.

In a survey by the Research Council of Norway, Norwegian?s expressed a desire to know more about how they, themselves, could reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and demanded knowledge about the contribution of specific actions, such as driving electric cars or flying on vacation. This project is designed to provide answers to these questions. For households to reduce emissions, two conditions are essential: One, we need to understand the GHG emissions of our actions and those of alternative courses of a ction. Such alternative courses of action with lower GHG emissions need to be available. Two, the low-carbon consumer behavior needs to be attractive enough for households to be willing and interested in pursuing them. In this project, climate-friendly ho usehold behavior will be identified, assessed, and tested on focus groups operated by the Norwegian Society for Nature Conservation (NNV). The work will proceed in following steps: - Assessment of environmental impacts of current household consumption us ing an economic-environmental model of global production and the survey of consumer expenditure. - Assessment of alternative consumption patterns such as driving public transport or electric vehicles, using life-cycle assessment. - Evaluation of attitudes towards alternative behavior and willingness to change using survey?s. Determination of behavioral plasticity. - Development of a short list of behaviors identifying those that both reduce emissions and are potentially attractive to households. - Worksho ps with focus groups specifically designed to test the suggested behavior changes.

The assessment of climate mitigation opportunities requires models detailed enough to cover specific solutions down to the product level, and with a global scope to track the upstream requirements through the global trade network. The latter step is essen tial for Norway, which sources large parts of its household consumption products from abroad. This assessment yields a set of mitigation strategies that can be considered robust regarding their technological feasibility and environmental impacts. Before t heir implementation, these strategies have to be checked for social acceptance. First, Norway-specific carbon footprints of household consumption will be modelled based on with NTNU's multiregional input-output model of the global economy enriched with b ottom-up engineering-based models of emissions-intensive production processes through life-cycle assessment (THEMIS model). A household layer and Norway-specific transportation module will be added. Second, by involving the Norwegian Society for the Cons ervation of Nature (NNV), which is Norway?s largest environmental NGO, and several focus groups of individual citizens, a feedback loop between end users and modellers will be established. This iterative process will enable the project to make the informa tion it produces more decision-relevant for the intended users. Surveys will be used to identify mitigation strategies that could be voluntarily adopted dependent on how much feedback on their carbon footprint is given to consumers. Moreover, we plan to u se interviews with focus groups to identify ways to improve the information to be easily understood by consumers and address aspects of trust. Estimates of plasticity, or 'voluntary' emissions reduction potential, of various changes in household behavio ur will be communicated to policy makers and integrated into mitigation models to provide a realistic picture of this potential strategy.

Funding scheme:

KLIMAFORSK-Stort program klima