Simple personal resource use calculators have been developed
allowing individuals to characterize their patterns of activity
by responding to a few questions and viewing the CO2
emissions associated with their lifestyle. We use these calculators
to first inform individuals about their role as a source of CO2
emissions. We then ask the users three questions:
Given this new information on their role as a source of CO2,
would they choose to alter their lifestyles and how?
The response of citizens to whether and how they might adjust
their lifestyles in response to learning about its emissions
consequences will shed light on issues of availability and value
of information to efforts aimed at changing lifestyles at the
If there were a mandate to reduce emissions marginally (i.e.,
no more than 10%) how would they go about altering their lifestyles?
Responses to questions about marginal change in lifestyle inform
us about how lifestyles may be adjusted slightly with minimal
loss of utility. We can compare adjustments chosen by users with
the marginal supply curves of CO2 control developed
in economic studies. Differences between these identify areas
of market failure the lowest marginal costs do not correspond
to the least utility loss. This is where government intervention
in the market is assured to increase welfare.
If there were a mandate to reduce emissions drastically (i.e.,
more than 50%) how would they go about altering their lifestyles?
Responses to questions about radical change in lifestyle inform
us about the perceived limits to lifestyle changes. Beyond this
limit of acceptable change, the reduction of CO2 emissions
is only possible by de-coupling energy services from CO2
emissions. The results obtained will help us identify energy-services
were technical change de-coupling emissions from energy services
are needed. This is where longer-term R&D investments are
assured to increase welfare.