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Consumption-oriented policy instruments for fostering greenhouse gas mitigation

Grubb, M; Crawford-Brown, D; Neuhoff, K; Schanes, K; Hawkins, S; Poncia, A; (2020) Consumption-oriented policy instruments for fostering greenhouse gas mitigation. Climate Policy 10.1080/14693062.2020.1730151. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Most policy instruments to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have focused on producers, and on the energy efficiency of buildings, vehicles and other products. Behavioural changes related to climate change also impact ‘in-use’ emissions, and potentially, emissions both ‘upstream’ (including from imported goods) and ‘downstream’ (eg disposal). Consumption-oriented policies may provide avenues to additional and cost-effective emission reductions, but are less prevalent, in part because of political sensitivities around government efforts to shape individual-level mitigation behaviour. In this paper, we explore policy instruments for encouraging low carbon behaviour in the EU context. Drawing on a literature survey and interviews, as part of the EU Carbon-CAP project, we develop a list of 33 potential instruments, present a systematic methodology for assessing their potential impact and feasibility, and apply this to rank instruments of most interest. Most instruments involve a clear trade-off between their potential impact and feasibility; about half feature in the top three scoring categories, many being voluntary approaches, which may be easier to implement, but with limited or highly uncertain impact. However, we identify a handful of top-scoring instruments that deserve far more policy attention. The complexity of consumer and corporate motivations and behaviours suggests that instruments should be trialled and monitored (e.g. in regions / individual States) before widespread introduction. Most would also be most effective when nested within wider policy packages, to address the varied behavioural motivations and stages of supply chains.

Type: Article
Title: Consumption-oriented policy instruments for fostering greenhouse gas mitigation
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2020.1730151
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/14693062.2020.1730151
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Carbon consumption, embodied carbon, materials consumption, behavioural change, multi-attribute decision-making, climate change consumer policy
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10094382
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