Climate change mitigation potential of Norwegian households and the rebound effect
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Cleaner Production. 2018, 172 208-217. 10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.10.089
An increasing number of studies show that efficiency improvements alone will not be sufficient to attain the substantial emission reductions needed to mitigate global warming to a target of 2 °C. Consumption side changes are likely to be needed to achieve sufficient emission reductions. The United Nations emphasize the importance of developed countries taking the lead in lowering emissions to achieve the sustainable development goals. This paper assess to what extent Norwegian households can lower their carbon footprint consistent with territorial emission reductions towards the 2 °C target of global warming through implementing a set of behavioral actions. We evaluate the efficacy of the set of actions both initially and after considering rebound effects. A multiregional environmentally extended input-output database is linked with the Norwegian consumer expenditure survey to analyze both average and marginal expenditure per unit of increased income. Further, linear programming is applied to examine the changes needed by households to reach different emission reduction targets. We find that households implementing the full set of actions without re-spending can obtain a 58% decrease in their carbon footprint. When accounting for the effect of re-spending, this reduction drops to 24–35%, which is not within the requirements of the 2 °C target. The optimization analysis suggests households can achieve reductions up to 45% by restricting re-spending to specific goods and services. This indicates that curbing the rebound effect is key to achieving real reductions in household carbon footprints. We show that changing consumption patterns can significantly contribute to lowering anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions without compromising the level of economic activity.