Prospects for radical emissions reduction through behaviour and lifestyle change

Capstick, Stuart, Lorenzoni, Irene, Corner, Adam and Whitmarsh, Lorraine (2015) Prospects for radical emissions reduction through behaviour and lifestyle change. Carbon Management, 5 (4). pp. 429-445. ISSN 1758-3004

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Over the past two decades, scholars and practitioners across the social sciences, in policy and beyond have proposed, trialled and developed a wide range of theoretical and practical approaches designed to bring about changes in behaviours and lifestyles that contribute to climate change. With the exception of the establishment of a small number of iconic behaviours such as recycling, it has however proved extremely difficult to bring about meaningful transformations in personal greenhouse gas emissions at either the individual or societal level, with multiple reviews now pointing to the limited efficacy of current approaches. We argue that the majority of approaches designed to achieve mitigation have been constrained by the need to operate within prevailing social scientific, economic and political orthodoxies which have precluded the possibility of non-marginal change. In this paper we ask what a truly radical approach to reducing personal emissions would look like from social science perspectives which challenge the unstated assumptions severely limiting action to date, and which explore new alternatives for change. We emphasise the difficulties likely to impede the instituting of genuinely radical societal change regarding climate change mitigation, whilst proposing ways that the ground could be prepared for such a transformation to take place.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2015 The author(s). This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Science > Tyndall Centre for Climatic Change
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2015 07:31
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2021 23:33
DOI: 10.1080/17583004.2015.1020011

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