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Are We Overestimating the Benefits of Emission Reduction Measures?
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Building Engineering, Energy Systems and Sustainability Science, Energy Systems and Building Technology. (Energy Systems)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2171-3013
2020 (English)In: Sustainability, ISSN 2071-1050, E-ISSN 2071-1050, Vol. 12, no 3, article id 808Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

When people evaluate the environmental impact of both “environmentally” and “non-environmentally” friendly objects, actions, or behavior, their judgement of the total set in combination is lower than the sum of the individual components. The current communication is a personal perspective article that proposes a human cognitive framework that is adopted during evaluations, which consequently results in wrong reasoning and the reinforcement of misconceptions. The framework gives plausible interpretation of the following: (1) “compensatory green beliefs”—the belief that environmentally harmful behavior can be compensated for by friendly actions; (2) the “negative footprint illusion”—the belief that introducing environmentally friendly objects to a set of conventional objects (e.g., energy efficient products or measures) will reduce the environmental impact of the total set; and (3) “rebound effects”—sustainability interventions increase unsustainable behavior directly or indirectly. In this regard, the framework herein proposes that many seemingly different environmentally harmful behaviors may sprout from a common cause, known as the averaging bias. This may have implications for the success of sustainability interventions, or how people are influenced by the marketing of “environmentally friendly” measures or products and policymaking.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
MDPI, 2020. Vol. 12, no 3, article id 808
Keywords [en]
climate change; negative footprint illusion; averaging bias; compensatory green beliefs; rebound effects; policymaking
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology) Energy Systems
Research subject
Sustainable Urban Development
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-31532DOI: 10.3390/su12030808Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85081238725OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-31532DiVA, id: diva2:1387937
Available from: 2020-01-23 Created: 2020-01-23 Last updated: 2020-03-24Bibliographically approved

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Kabanshi, Alan

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