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Individual consumers and climate change: searching for a new moral compass

Listed author(s):
  • Tanya O�Garra

Individuals and households are responsible for about one third of all carbon emissions in the UK and the US, and yet, there has been limited policy attention to this sector. This chapter proposes that voluntary engagement by individuals and households in carbon-reducing behaviours might be significantly enhanced if climate change is framed clearly, and unequivocally, as a moral issue. However, climate change has a number of features that make it difficult to apprehend as a typical moral problem. This chapter examines each of these features, and discusses how they might be re-cast so that the climate change problem takes the form of a standard moral problem. This chapter also serves as a rudimentary review of the ethics literature relevant to climate change.

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Paper provided by Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment in its series GRI Working Papers with number 81.

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Date of creation: May 2012
Handle: RePEc:lsg:lsgwps:wp81
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  1. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
  2. Ernst Fehr & Michael Naef & Klaus M. Schmidt, 2006. "Inequality Aversion, Efficiency, and Maximin Preferences in Simple Distribution Experiments: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1912-1917, December.
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  6. Matthew J. Kotchen, 2011. "Climate Policy and Voluntary Initiatives: An Evaluation of the Connecticut Clean Energy Communities Program," NBER Chapters,in: The Design and Implementation of U.S. Climate Policy, pages 145-154 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Murray, Anthony G. & Mills, Bradford F., 2011. "Read the Label! Energy Star Appliance Awareness and Uptake Among U.S. Consumers," 2011 Annual Meeting, July 24-26, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 103328, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  8. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
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