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GHG reduction potential of changes in consumption patterns and higher quality levels: Evidence from Swiss household consumption survey

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  • Girod, Bastien
  • de Haan, Peter

Abstract

An effective consumer-oriented climate policy requires knowing the GHG reduction potential of sustainable consumption. The aim of this study is to draw lessons from differences in consumption between households with high and low GHG emissions. We evaluate a survey of 14,500 households and use a method that allows measuring changes in price level of consumption. Comparing the 10% of households with the highest GHG emissions per capita with the lowest 10% - controlling for differences in expenditure level and household structure - we find a range 5-17 tons of CO2-equivalent per capita and year. The observed differences stem mainly from heating, electricity use, car use, and travel by aircraft. Consumption patterns with low GHG emissions are characterized by less spending on mobility, but more on leisure and quality oriented consumption (leading to higher prices per unit). Further characteristics are: a higher share of organic food, low meat consumption and fewer detached single family houses. Our findings imply that a significant reduction in GHG emissions would be possible by adopting real-world consumption patterns observable in society. The twin challenge is to shift consumption towards more climate friendly patterns, and to prevent any trend towards high emitting consumption patterns.

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  • Girod, Bastien & de Haan, Peter, 2009. "GHG reduction potential of changes in consumption patterns and higher quality levels: Evidence from Swiss household consumption survey," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 5650-5661, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:37:y:2009:i:12:p:5650-5661
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    Cited by:

    1. Chitnis, Mona & Sorrell, Steve & Druckman, Angela & Firth, Steven K. & Jackson, Tim, 2014. "Who rebounds most? Estimating direct and indirect rebound effects for different UK socioeconomic groups," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 12-32.
    2. M. Iqbal Irfany, 2014. "Affluence and emission trade-offs: evidence from Indonesian household carbon footprint," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 161, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    3. Mohammad Iqbal Irfany & Stephan Klasen & Rezky Syahrezal Yusuf, 2015. "The consumption-based carbon footprint of households in Sulawesi, Jambi and Indonesia as a whole in 2013," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 186, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    4. O' Mahony, Tadhg & Zhou, P. & Sweeney, John, 2013. "Integrated scenarios of energy-related CO2 emissions in Ireland: A multi-sectoral analysis to 2020," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 385-397.
    5. Emma Watkins & Patrick ten Brink & Jean-Pierre Schweitzer & Lucile Rogissart & Martin Nesbit, 2016. "Policy Mixes to Achieve Absolute Decoupling: An Ex Ante Assessment," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(6), pages 1-17, June.
    6. Druckman, Angela & Chitnis, Mona & Sorrell, Steve & Jackson, Tim, 2011. "Missing carbon reductions? Exploring rebound and backfire effects in UK households," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 3572-3581, June.
    7. Font Vivanco, David & McDowall, Will & Freire-González, Jaume & Kemp, René & van der Voet, Ester, 2016. "The foundations of the environmental rebound effect and its contribution towards a general framework," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 60-69.

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