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Open AccessArticle

Household Preferences to Reduce Their Greenhouse Gas Footprint: A Comparative Study from Four European Cities

1
Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health, Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden
2
Western Norway Research Institute, 6856 Sogndal, Norway
3
Department of Radiation Sciences, Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden
4
Heidelberg Institute of Global Health, Heidelberg University Hospital, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
5
School of Health Sciences, University of Surrey, Surrey GU27XH, UK
6
Centre International de Recherche sur l’Environnement et le Développement, 94736 Paris, France
7
TEC Conseil, 13001 Marseille, France
8
Institute of Public Health, Heidelberg University, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
9
Harvard Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4044; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114044
Received: 7 October 2018 / Revised: 24 October 2018 / Accepted: 24 October 2018 / Published: 5 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Sustainable Development Policy)
This paper investigates households’ preferences to reduce their carbon footprint (CF) measured in carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e). It assumes that a substantial CF reduction of households is essential to reach the 1.5 °C goal under the Paris Agreement. Data was collected in four mid-size cities in France, Germany, Norway, and Sweden. Quantitative data was obtained from 308 households using a CF calculator based on a questionnaire, and a simulation game. The latter investigated households’ preferences when being confronted with the objective to reduce their CF by 50 percent by 2030 in a voluntary and forced scenario. Our results show that the greater the CO2e-reduction potential of a mitigation action, the less willing a household was to implement that action. Households preferred actions with moderate lifestyle changes foremost in the food sector. Voluntarily, households reached a 25% footprint reduction by 2030. To reach a substantial reduction of 50 percent, households needed to choose actions that meant considerable lifestyle changes, mainly related to mobility. Given our results, the 1.5 °C goal is unlikely to be realizable currently, unless households receive major policy support. Lastly, the strikingly similar preferences of households in the four European cities investigated seem to justify strong EU and international policies. View Full-Text
Keywords: Greenhouse gases; CO2; emission; households; preferences; climate change; mitigation; Paris agreement; Europe; carbon footprint Greenhouse gases; CO2; emission; households; preferences; climate change; mitigation; Paris agreement; Europe; carbon footprint
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Sköld, B.; Baltruszewicz, M.; Aall, C.; Andersson, C.; Herrmann, A.; Amelung, D.; Barbier, C.; Nilsson, M.; Bruyère, S.; Sauerborn, R. Household Preferences to Reduce Their Greenhouse Gas Footprint: A Comparative Study from Four European Cities. Sustainability 2018, 10, 4044.

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