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Mainstream literature on climate change concentrates overwhelmingly on technological solutions for this global long-term problem, while a change towards climate-friendly behaviour could play a role in emission reduction and has received little attention. This paper focuses on the potential climate mitigation by behavioural change in the European Union (EU) covering many behavioural options in food, mobility and housing demand which do not require any personal up-front investment. We use the Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM), capturing both their direct and indirect implications in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. Our results indicate that modest to rigorous behavioural change could reduce per capita footprint emissions by 6 to 16%, out of which one fourth will take place outside the EU, predominantly by reducing land use change. The domestic emission savings would contribute to reduce the costs of achieving the internationally agreed climate goal of the EU by 13.5 to 30%. Moreover, many of these options would also yield co-benefits such as monetary savings, positive health impacts or animal wellbeing. These results imply the need for policymakers to focus on climate education and awareness programs more seriously and strategically, making use of the multiple co-benefits related with adopting pro-environmental behaviour. Apart from that, the relevance of behavioural change in climate change mitigation implies that policy-informing models on climate change should include behavioural change as a complement or partial alternative to technological change.
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The potential of behavioural change for climate change
mitigation: a case study for the European Union
Dirk-Jan van de Ven
&Mikel González-Eguino
Iñaki Arto
Received: 29 May 2017 /Accepted: 1 September 2017 /Published online: 20 September 2017
#Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017
Abstract Mainstream literature on climate change concentrates overwhelmingly on techno-
logical solutions for this global long-term problem, while a change towards climate-friendly
behaviour could play a role in emission reduction and has received little attention. This paper
focuses on the potential climate mitigation by behavioural change in the European Union (EU)
covering many behavioural options in food, mobility and housing demand which do not
require any personal up-front investment. We use the Global Change Assessment Model
(GCAM), capturing both their direct and indirect implications in terms of greenhouse gas
emissions. Our results indicate that modest to rigorous behavioural change could reduce per
capita footprint emissions by 6 to 16%, out of which one fourth will take place outside the EU,
predominantly by reducing land use change. The domestic emission savings would contribute
to reduce the costs of achieving the internationally agreed climate goal of the EU by 13.5 to
30%. Moreover, many of these options would also yield co-benefits such as monetary savings,
positive health impacts or animal wellbeing. These results imply the need for policymakers to
focus on climate education and awareness programs more seriously and strategically, making
use of the multiple co-benefits related with adopting pro-environmental behaviour. Apart from
that, the relevance of behavioural change in climate change mitigation implies that policy-
informing models on climate change should include behavioural change as a complement or
partial alternative to technological change.
Keywords Climatechange .Mitigation.Behavioural change .Diet change .Mobility.Land-use
change .Waste recycling .Policy costs .Footprint emissions
Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Change (2018) 23:853886
DOI 10.1007/s11027-017-9763-y
*Dirk-Jan van de Ven
Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3), Edificio Sede 1-1, Parque Científico de UPV/EHU, Barrio
Sarriena s/n, 48940 Leioa, Spain
University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Leioa, Spain
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
... Respective policy instruments aim to provide incentives to market forces, e.g., through taxes and subsidies, to shift economic activity from less to more environmentally friendly and to promote innovation (Crespi et al., 2016). The technology-oriented efficiency strategy is the prevailing approach in the current climate and sustainability discourse (van de Ven et al., 2018). It is also at the heart of the OECD's recommendations to governments (OECD, 2022), as well as the processes towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement (Kurz, 2019). ...
... In contrast to improving the ways in which economic output is generated, so-called demand-side approaches emphasize changing people's demand for goods and services to reduce environmental pressures (Creutzig et al., 2016;van de Ven et al., 2018). ...
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This dissertation explores the use of behavioral economics to advance climate change mitigation strategies. While climate change is often treated as a technical or economic problem in policy discussions, this research argues that it is ultimately also a behavioral problem. The dissertation emphasizes the role of non-rational factors in shaping human climate-relevant behavior and demonstrates how understanding these factors can help overcome barriers to effective climate policy. Three research papers provide evidence that behavioral economics can improve climate policy making by identifying new welfare implications, improving predictions of policy effects, and offering new policy tools. The first paper uses a literature-based and conceptual approach to identify and categorize status quo biases that impede individual climate-friendly behaviors, proposing measures to overcome these biases, and highlighting their potential for policy leverage. The second paper examines moral licensing rebound effects in the context of climate-related behavior, where actions perceived as morally virtuous lead to subsequent counterproductive behavior. The third paper shows how different communication framings about sufficiency behavior can increase individuals' willingness to reduce consumption.
... The authors attribute the lower impact to reduced meat and increased plant consumption. Given the rapidly changing nature of food production and the contemporary desire to consume plant-based diets, [49][50][51][52][53][54][55] future research on these aspects is recommended. This is also important as new evidencebased guidelines for CKD recommend plant-based dietary patterns rather than nutrient-based dietary prescriptions that incorrectly limit fruit and vegetable intake. ...
Background: Immediate action is needed to stabilise the climate. Dietitians require knowledge of how the therapeutic diets they prescribe may contribute to climate change. No previous research has quantified the climate footprint of therapeutic diets. This study sought to quantify and compare the climate footprint of two types of therapeutic diets for people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) with two reference diets. Methods: A usual diet for an individual with CKD and a novel plant-based diet for CKD were compared with the current Australian diet and the Australian-adapted EAT Lancet Planetary Health Diet (PHD). The climate footprint of these diets was measured using the Global Warming Potential (GWP*) metric for a reference 71-year-old male. Results: No diets analysed were climate neutral, and therefore, all contribute to climate change. The novel plant-based diet for CKD (1.20 kg carbon dioxide equivalents [CO2 e] per day) produced 35% less CO2 e than the usual renal diet for an individual with CKD (1.83 kg CO2 e per day) and 50% less than the current Australian diet (2.38 kg CO2 e per day). The Australian-adapted EAT Lancet PHD (1.04 kg CO2 e per day) produced the least amount of CO2 e and 56% less than the current Australian diet. The largest contributors to the climate footprint of all four diets were foods from the meats and alternatives, dairy and alternatives and discretionary food groups. Conclusions: Dietetic advice to reduce the climate footprint of therapeutic diets for CKD should focus on discretionary foods and some animal-based products. Future research is needed on other therapeutic diets.
... One example is the WILIAM ("Within limits") Integrated Assessment Model (IAM), developed in the scope of LOCOMOTION, whose economic module is based on a dynamic Multi-Regional Input Output (MRIO) model that has been extended by final endogenous demand. 675 WILIAM can shift household behaviors towards more or less carbon-friendly consumption patterns, providing possibilities to reveal mitigation pathways from both production and consumption perspectives. However, there are still challenges to integrating demand-side policy interventions into most IAMs as they are often designed for production-side technologies and processes, with aggregated sectoral and regional categories. ...
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... It is estimated that approximately 150,000 global annual deaths are attributed to climate change, caused directly or indirectly by: extreme weather events; increased transmission of infectious diseases; changes in food production systems; and negative impacts on fossil fuel consumption on air quality [2]. Climate change mitigation behaviours can be defined as behaviours that reduce or prevent greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to ongoing climate change [3]. These climate change mitigation behaviours are commonly split into the following categories: transport behaviours (including surface transport and aviation), domestic heating behaviours and consumption behaviours (electricity consumption and consumption in relation to sustainable diets) [4]. ...
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Climate change requires urgent action; however, it can be challenging to identify individual-level behaviours that should be prioritised for maximum impact. The study aimed to prioritise climate change mitigation behaviours according to their impacts on climate change and public health, and to identify associated barriers and facilitators—exploring the impact of observed behaviour shifts associated with COVID-19 in the UK. A three-round Delphi study and expert workshop were conducted: An expert panel rated mitigation behaviours impacted by COVID-19 in relation to their importance regarding health impacts and climate change mitigation using a five-point Likert scale. Consensus on the importance of target behaviours was determined by interquartile ranges. In total, seven target behaviours were prioritised: installing double/triple glazing; installing cavity wall insulation; installing solid wall insulation; moving away from meat/emission heavy diets; reducing the number of cars per household; walking shorter journeys; and reducing day/weekend leisure car journeys. Barriers related to the costs associated with performing behaviours and a lack of complementary policy-regulated subsidies. The target behaviours are consistent with recommendations from previous research. To ensure public uptake, interventions should address behavioural facilitators and barriers, dovetail climate change mitigation with health co-benefits and account for the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on these behaviours.
... Investigating further these positive effects of pro-environmental behavioural changes, Masud et al. (2015) argued that people who exhibit pro-environmental behaviour are willing to behave in a more environmentally friendly way to lessen the impact of climate change. Furthermore, in an EU-based case-specific study, van de Ven et al. (2018) confirmed that modest to rigorous levels of such behavioural change could reduce per-capita footprint emissions by 6 to 16 per cent. The arguments and studies presented above evince how fostering Biophilia could contribute to addressing the current global environmental crises. ...
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Since the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring in the 1960s, the architecture realm has witnessed a surge in sustainable design approaches. These have primarily focused on developing solutions that reduce negative environmental impacts. A growing body of research has identified that merely reducing the destructive impacts may not suffice to fight the global environmental crisis. In response, a number of architectural design approaches, such as biophilic design, restorative design and emotion-based nature-oriented architecture, have been developed to not only overcome the destructive environmental impacts of design and planning but also to improve human-nature interactions in the built environment. This paper critically reviews one of the most recognized approaches in the literature among the three: biophilic design. It discusses its relation to sustainability and the strengths and potentials for fostering pro-environmental behaviour. An in-depth analysis of biophilic design's emerging design frameworks follows, explicitly considering their applicability in informing the process of designing nature experiences in architecture. The paper concludes with two main shortcomings of biophilic design and outlines an area for future research.
... Household carbon footprints can be decreased with already available low-emission consumption options (Ivanova et al 2020), and behavioural change in households has been recognised as an inexpensive and rapid way to achieve climate change mitigation goals (Stankuniene et al 2020). Van de Ven et al (2018) found that carbon footprint per capita could be decreased by 6%-16% through behavioural change in the European Union. In Finland, Salo and Nissinen (2017) estimated that the carbon footprint of an average Finn could decrease by approximately 37% through consumption choices. ...
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This article was submitted without an abstract, please refer to the full-text PDF file.
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