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Article

I Believe I Can Fly—Conceptual Foundations for Behavioral Rebound Effects Related to Voluntary Carbon Offsetting of Air Travel

Institute of Systems Sciences, Innovation and Sustainability Research, University of Graz, 8010 Graz, Austria
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Academic Editor: Antonio Caggiano
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 4774; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13094774
Received: 25 March 2021 / Revised: 20 April 2021 / Accepted: 21 April 2021 / Published: 24 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Promoting Behavior Change toward Sustainable Transport)
Voluntary carbon offsets (VCO) have been introduced as a means of compensating personal carbon emissions related to travelling. Purchases of VCO have remained low in the past, but might increase in the future due to rising awareness about climate change. VCO have been assumed to increase the acceptability of flying among eco-minded people. Therefore, VCO might not only be a tool to offset emissions but also to compensate for “flight shame”. Much research has been carried out to detect VCO purchasers’ motives, but none has explored the potential behavioral rebound effects of VCO with regard to flying. This article contributes to the debate by presenting a conceptual framework that was developed to investigate these rebound effects. First, we present the motives that travelers have for offsetting their flight emissions. These motives already indicate the possibility of a rebound effect. Second, we discuss several conceptual ideas which should be considered for the design of empirical studies. Overall, we argue that the use of VCO might lead to unintended carbon emissions; however, isolating the specific role of VCO remains a difficult task. Nevertheless, research on behavioral rebound effects is needed to clarify whether VCO counteract sustainability in the transport sector. View Full-Text
Keywords: behavior change; behavioral rebound effect; carbon offsets; flight emissions; flight shame; moral licensing; travel behavior; VCO behavior change; behavioral rebound effect; carbon offsets; flight emissions; flight shame; moral licensing; travel behavior; VCO
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kerner, C.; Brudermann, T. I Believe I Can Fly—Conceptual Foundations for Behavioral Rebound Effects Related to Voluntary Carbon Offsetting of Air Travel. Sustainability 2021, 13, 4774. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13094774

AMA Style

Kerner C, Brudermann T. I Believe I Can Fly—Conceptual Foundations for Behavioral Rebound Effects Related to Voluntary Carbon Offsetting of Air Travel. Sustainability. 2021; 13(9):4774. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13094774

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kerner, Christoph; Brudermann, Thomas. 2021. "I Believe I Can Fly—Conceptual Foundations for Behavioral Rebound Effects Related to Voluntary Carbon Offsetting of Air Travel" Sustainability 13, no. 9: 4774. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13094774

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