Perspectives on low carbon lifestyles
Climate change is one of the most severe problems facing the world today. If extensive measures are not undertaken to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions within the near future, the natural conditions under which life depends will change for the worse (Pachauri et al, 2014). The transition to a low carbon and sustainable future represents a major transformation of our society that will need to come about within a timeframe of decades. This thesis attempts to make a contribution to the research field of sustainable consumption and thus involves questions related to the demand of energy and resources in society.
In Papers I and II, we examine different factors affecting the variation in GHG emissions between households. Paper I examines the explanatory value of socio-economic, geographic and motivational factors in the same empirical material, while paper II specifically analyzes the importance of materialistic values to individuals’ GHG emissions. Results from Paper I show the importance of situational factors (socio-economic and geographical) in relation to motivational (environmental attitudes). Paper II on the other hand indicates that individuals with a materialistic value orientation tend to fly more and hence cause larger GHG emissions, and the theoretical implications of this result is discussed.
In Papers III and IV, we analyze the relationships between individuals’ reported levels of well-being and environmentally relevant behaviors. Paper III analyzes respondents’ levels of subjective well-being and GHG emissions, and concludes that when relevant factors are controlled for, there is no relationship between subjective well-being and GHG emissions. Paper IV, among other things, use the introduction of a congestion charge scheme to examine the effect on travel satisfaction and finds no strong effects.
In Paper V, we analyze the direct rebound effect in a large sample of Swedish households by following the changes in fuel efficiency and annual driving distances for in the years before and after they change car. Contrary to previous research, the results suggest that, apart from in certain sub-samples, there is no significant rebound effect and the results are discussed.
satisfaction with travel scale
Virtual Development Laboratory, Chalmers Tvärgata 4C
Opponent: Angela Druckman PhD, Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Energy & Climate Change Mitigation, Centre of Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey, Great Britain