University of Hertfordshire

Green behaviour change: HOT topics

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGoing Green
Subtitle of host publicationthe Psychology of Sustainability in the Workplace
EditorsDean Bartlett
Place of PublicationLondon, UK
PublisherBPS Publications
Pages65-75
Volumechapter 8
ISBN (Print)978-1-85433-713-9
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Abstract

Climate change is a psychological problem. A rather stark statement maybe, but one which is, we think, defensible. To be sure, the mitigation of the effects of climate change poses very great technological challenges. However, the fact is that technologies that are widely available today are capable of making a very large dent in the carbon dioxide emissions that are thought to underlie the problem. To give just one of a plethora of possible examples: according to DEFRA, the average family car in the UK emits around 215g CO2
per kilometre; by contrast, the most fuel-efficient family car currently available emits around 90g CO2 per kilometre and, with the advent of plug-in hybrids over the next two years, this figure is likely to be further reduced to around 65g. For those (like the UK Government) seeking a 70-80 per cent cut in carbon emissions from private cars, the problem therefore is not a technological one but a behavioural one: how can we get people to adopt existing low-carbon technologies in their everyday lives?

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