The spatial distribution of carbon footprints and engagement in pro-climate behaviors – Trends across urban-rural gradients in the nordics

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A1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä
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Cleaner and responsible consumption, Volume 11
Climate change mitigation to the 1.5 °C calls for significant and extensive climate actions. Nordic countries are showing high engagement to climate change mitigation while the consumption and lifestyle-based carbon footprints are among the global highest. Majority of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are connected to household consumption where various behavioral changes have been presented in order to reduce the personal carbon footprints. Previous research has shown how behaviors are connected to the living environment and urban structure, which have shown having an impact in forming variations in our lifestyles and behavioral patterns. In this study, with a survey dataset of ∼8000 respondents across the five Nordic countries, the engagement of respondents to different climate and carbon mitigation actions were analyzed and linked to their calculated carbon footprints. Three types of behavioral clusters were found among the respondents, one presenting conscious pro-climate behavior, one relating to frugality behavior, and one cluster related to self-sufficient behavior. The pro-climate behavioral intentions were present more in urbanized areas together with high climate motivation, whereas frugality behavior was level across the urban gradient, and finally respondents from less urbanized areas emphasized self-sufficient behavior. The stated behavioral intentions of the respondents were in contrast to their carbon footprints. Carbon footprints related to leisure consumption were highest in the urban regions and everyday consumption related footprints in the rural regions. Interestingly, only frugality behavior was associated with lower carbon footprints both in everyday and leisure consumption categories, whereas climate conscious behavior was positively related to leisure consumption footprint but negatively related to everyday consumption. The findings emphasize the variation of lifestyles based on different actions in different urban forms where the engagement to climate change mitigation presents differently. The results underline the importance of understanding the role that the built environment plays in being linked to the behavioral patterns and the need to increase the knowledge of the climate impacts of behavioral choices.
Funding Information: The authors thank the Icelandic Centre for Research (Rannís), Grant Number: 207195-053, for funding the study. Publisher Copyright: © 2023 The Authors
Climate change, Consumption-based carbon footprint, Pro-climate behavior, Urban–rural differences
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Anttonen, H, Kinnunen, A, Heinonen, J, Ottelin, J & Junnila, S 2023, ' The spatial distribution of carbon footprints and engagement in pro-climate behaviors – Trends across urban-rural gradients in the nordics ', Cleaner and Responsible Consumption, vol. 11, 100139 .