HOusehold Preferences for reducing greenhouse gas Emission in four European High Income Countries

Project website

Leading Principal Investigator: Professor Rainer Sauerborn, Heidelberg University, Germany

Due to expectations of more ambitious GHG mitigation goals to be agreed on internationally in the future, climate policy will have to target households. Households in high-income-countries influence some 50 % of GHG emissions. Thus, targeting them in climate policies implies including emissions embedded in private consumption which so far has largely been outside the scope of current climate policies. The EU roadmap for a competitive low carbon economy calls for reducing GHG emissions by 80-95% until 2050.

Thus, we apply a long-term goal of reducing household GHG emissions in the range of 50 % by 2050 compared with 1990, in which we will develop possible pathways for households to contribute to reach this goal. The HOPE project will generate new knowledge in three areas (1) the drivers behind current household emission (2) households choices to achieve imposed GHG reduction targets (3) economic costs amp; benefits as well as health co-benefits of each choice. The four study countries offer different contexts in climate policy, GHG-emission profiles and energy supply. We study a representative urban household sample in each country. The study comprises three stages: (1) A household interview survey including the assessment of the current household footprint of direct and indirect GHG emissions. (2) An on-site simulation, in which household will be guided through a GHG reduction simulation of 60 GHG saving options. For each behavioral change, the resulting savings (GHG reduction), costs and health co-benefits will be shown. (3) A semi-structured qualitative follow-up interview addressing household views on potential barriers and motivation for the measures chosen in stage 2 will be applied to a carefully chosen subsample based on the results of stages 1 and 2. Engaging with policy-makers from the start we will develop possible innovations in current climate policy regimes at EU, national and local level of governance to support households in their consumption choices.