Keywords: IPAT, ImPACT, consumers, consumer behaviour, carbon dioxide, CO2 emissions, carbon emissions, energy intensity, population, affluence, emission intensity, industrial ecology, greenhouse gases, lifestyle changes, consumer policy
Consumers and macro-level forces behind CO2 emission development
With the ImPACT framework, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions can be simply presented as combination of four forces: population, affluence, energy intensity of economy and emission intensity of energy. Consumers can directly influence energy efficiency and emission intensity by their daily purchases and investments. Conserving energy has a direct influence. Economic incentives are cost-effective. Environmentally sound technology and infrastructure has to be built to reduce external constraints. Exchanging incomes for leisure and family planning are radical means but have strong impact on emissions. Consumers can be empowered to change lifestyles with consumer policy that increases awareness and knowledge, informs individuals as to how they can make a difference, eases participation and motivates. The structures behind consumption are often strong. The developments would have to be far-sighted and take place in many fields in order to avoid leakages and strengthen the lever of the consumers.