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Intention to change activities that reduce carbon dioxide emissions related to worry about global climate change consequences

Journal article
Authors Eva-Lotta Sundblad
Anders Biel
Tommy Gärling
Published in European review of applied psychology
Volume 64
Issue 1
Pages 13-17
ISSN 1162-9088
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 13-17
Language en
Keywords Global climate change,Carbon dioxide emission,WorryEveryday activities,Link between worry and preventive actions
Subject categories Applied Psychology


Introduction. – Mitigating the global climate change requires actions at different levels including that laypeople change their consumption patterns, which cause emissions of greenhouse gases. Recent researchsuggests that inducing affects such as fear and worry may have positive effects.Objective. – To investigate whether worry in addition to personalized information about emissions ofcarbon dioxide would influence lay people’s intentions to change consumption-related personal activitiescausing carbon-dioxide emissions.Method. – A municipality-provided tool to calculate their annual carbon dioxide emissions was used by135 university students who after being informed about negative consequences of global climate changestated their intentions to change a number of personal activities to reduce carbon dioxide emissionsduring the following 12 months. They also rated how worried they were about eight global climatechange consequences.Results. – Intentions to change travel, energy use at home, food consumption, involvement in environ-mental organizations, and support of environmental policies increased with worry. An interaction wasalso observed such that high-emitters’ intentions to invest in energy-efficient infrastructure increasedmore with worry than did low- and medium-emitters’ intentions.Conclusions. – In line with recent research positing that affect increases preventive actions, the hypothesiswas supported that intentions to change personal activities to reduce carbon dioxide emissions increasedwith participants’ worry about the consequences of global climate change.

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