Household preferences for reducing greenhouse gas Emission in four European High Income Countries

Due to expectations of more ambitious GHG mitigation goals to be agreed on internationally in the future, climate policy will have to target households. Households in high-income-countries influence some 50 % of GHG emissions. Thus, targeting them in climate policies implies including emissions embedded in private consumption – which so far has largely been outside the scope of current climate policies. The EU roadmap for a competitive low carbon economy calls for reducing GHG emissions by 80-95% until 2050. Thus, we apply a long-term goal of reducing household GHG emissions in the range of 50 % by 2050 compared with 1990, in which we will develop possible pathways for house-holds to contribute to reach this goal.

The HOPE project has generated new knowledge in three areas: (1) the drivers behind current household emissions, (2) households’ choices to achieve imposed GHG reduction targets; (3) economic costs & benefits as well as health co-benefits of each choice.

The four countries studied offered different contexts in climate policy, GHG-emission profiles and energy supply. We studied a representative urban household sample in each country.

The study comprised three stages:

  1. A household interview survey including the assessment of the current household footprint of direct and indirect GHG emissions.
  2. An on-site simulation, in which households were guided through a GHG reduction simulation of 60 GHG saving options. For each behavioural change, the resulting savings (GHG reduction), costs and health co-benefits were shown.
  3. A semi-structured qualitative follow-up interview addressing household views on potential barriers and motivation for the measures chosen in stage 2 were applied to a carefully chosen sub-sample based on the results of stages 1 and 2.

Engaging with policy-makers from the start, we developed possible innovations in current climate policy regimes at EU, national and local levels of governance to support households in their consumption choices.


Policy briefing sheets

  • Briefing Sheet 1: What were the HOPE methods to study household preferences for reducing greenhouse gas emissions?
  • Briefing Sheet 2: Which mitigation actions are households willing to implement?
  • Briefing Sheet 3: What are the reasons behind households’ preferences for reducing greenhouse gas emissions?
  • Briefing Sheet 4: What role do health co-benefits play in households’ decision-making?
  • Briefing Sheet 5: How can policies enable households to contribute to the 1.5°C goal?



Start date:
End date:
Project lead:
Research Professor
Project staff:
Researcher and communication advisor