Concerned consumption. Global warming changing household domestication of energy
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionEnergy Policy 2016, 98:290-297 10.1016/j.enpol.2016.09.001
This paper addresses possible effects of the growing focus on global warming on households’ domestication of energy and the dynamics of energy consumption by comparing data pertaining to the domestication of energy within Norwegian households from two time periods: first, 1991–1995, when climate change was given little public attention, and, second, 2006–2009, after climate change became a major public concern. In the first period, we observed that the domestication of energy resulted in an energy culture emphasizing comfort and convenience with respect to everyday life and the abundant supply of clean hydropower. In the second period, this culture seemed to have changed, making households more concerned about their energy consumption. Consumption of energy was linked to climate change, and many interviewees claimed to save energy. However, the dominant expectation was still to be able to manage everyday life in a convenient and comfortable way. Thus, climate change concerns produced some but not very radical changes in the practical domestication of energy, including energy saving. A main effect was feelings of guilt, tempered by arguments regarding why change is difficult and complaints about political inaction. Thus, public engagement with climate change issues may facilitate energy efficiency policy but to succeed, wider climate policy measures seem to be needed.