Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Climate change mitigation at the individual level : examining climate change beliefs and energy saving behaviours with the aim to encourage the reduction of end-user energy consumption
Author: Koletsou, Alexia
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 5734
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2015
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Unsustainable levels of energy consumption, resulting in carbon emissions, are leading to one of the world’s greatest environmental problems: climate change. The only short-term strategy for reducing these emissions is a reduction in end-user energy demand. Households have a major part to play in this reduction as they are responsible for 29% of total UK emissions (excluding direct transport related emissions and indirect emissions). The research reported in this thesis contributes to understanding what makes people adopt or not adopt climate change mitigation behaviours. The study employed an on-line questionnaire answered by a nationally representative quota sample of just over five hundred participants of Great Britain (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales) aged 18 years and older. It thus contributes a major dataset for secondary analysis. The findings of this research contribute through an analysis of three different aspects of climate change beliefs and behaviours. Firstly, the examination of climate change beliefs reveals that justifications differ depending on belief. More specifically, those who believe that climate change is happening base their belief on changing weather, while those who don’t believe climate change is happening were found to base their belief on the natural process involved. A third category of those unsure whether climate change was happening was also identified. These respondents were found to point to both humans and other causes for climate change. Additionally, perceptions of believers about climate change (impact of lifestyle and action for climate change, ability of humans to overcome climate change, problem extent of climate change, and levels of confidence in scientists’ confidence both regarding climate predictions and regarding the link between emissions and climate change) were found to differ to those held by deniers. Secondly, the data demonstrate that there is little association between belief in climate change and the adoption of climate change mitigation behaviours. Although the majority of the public state that they believe climate change is happening and that they take action out of concern for climate change, neither of these two factors was found to be related to the adoption of the 21 energy saving behaviours examined (Gardner and Stern, 2008). Furthermore, the findings indicate that self-efficacy (which is concerned with people’s beliefs about their capabilities to perform a specific behaviour) is associated with behaviour adoption. However, despite money being found to be the key motivator for behaviour adoption, the behaviours carried out do not correspond to the ones that are the most effective for saving money, nor those perceived to be the most effective. This could be due to misunderstandings of the effectiveness of behaviours. Thirdly, interventions aimed to encourage households to reduce their energy consumption are examined through a literature review. This is followed by an examination of the potential audiences that could benefit the most from targeted interventions. Sociodemographic variables are able to partially identify the groups of people that may respond most positively to targeted interventions (incorporating antecedent and consequence strategies); those who want to do more for the environment, those who save the least amount of energy, and those who make the biggest error regarding the potential financial savings. This research suggests that interventions should focus on supporting individuals in developing self-efficacy in relation to mitigation behaviours, providing information on the possible savings when adopting different behaviours and on addressing the barriers to behaviour adoption.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: L Education (General)