Household GHG footprints and Austrian climate policy: identifying leverage points for demand-side mitigation

Bild: Hauptbahnhof Wien

Achieving climate neutrality by 2040 requires major transformations in all parts of society. Demand-side solutions are increasingly acknowledged as potentially powerful levers towards climate-change mitigation, reducing emissions by avoiding, shifting or improving final demand for emissions-intensive goods and services. However, little is known about how political interventions shape final demand, and this knowledge gap hampers effective policy interventions. To close this research gap, FOCAL-points embarks on an inter- and transdisciplinary journey to identify leverage points for effective and viable demand-side climate change mitigation in Austria.

The project generates new empirical insights on (1) trends of greenhouse gas emissions induced by private households (household GHG footprints) in the period 1995-2020 and their connection to various socio-economic household characteristics in Austria, and (2) demand-side climate policies and major governmental investment decisions in the same period, focusing on the transport and housing sectors. Initial findings will be fed into a process of knowledge co-production with practitioners in climate policy-making and citizens to explore entry points for transformative change. Applying the “leverage points” conceptual framework we will integrate results to identify best practice cases where policy interventions were effective, as well as blind spots that future political interventions should target to achieve climate neutrality by 2040.

This project is led by Simone Gingrich and has received funding from the Austrian Klimaenergiefonds under the 14th Call of the Austrian Climate Research Program (ACRP) (KR21KB0K00001). The project started in October 2022 and will end in September 2025.

Simone Gingrich