Individual-motivational factors in the acceptability of demand-side and supply-side measures to reduce carbon emissions

Wouter Poortinga, Alexa Spence, Christina Demski, Nick F. Pidgeon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (SciVal)


As more than a third of all carbon dioxide emissions in the UK are generated by the domestic sector, individuals need to make drastic changes to their current lifestyle in order to play their part in climate change mitigation. Not only do they need to change their personal behaviour, they also have to accept new low-carbon technologies in order to decarbonise the energy they are using. This study uses an adapted version of the Value-Belief-Norm (VBN) model (Stern, 2000) to examine individual-motivational factors in the acceptability of demand-side and supply-side strategies to reduce carbon emissions. The study found that environmental identity, climate change concern, and personal norms are all significantly associated with the acceptability of both demand-side measures and supply-side technologies. While personal values were also important, their associations were mediated by more specific factors. Overall, the adapted VBN model was better able to explain the acceptability of low-carbon behaviours than of low-carbon energy-supply technologies. Concern about energy security appeared to be of limited importance. It was negatively associated with the willingness to engage in low-carbon behaviours, suggesting that a shift in focus towards energy security issues may not necessarily help a transition to a low-carbon society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)812-819
Number of pages8
JournalEnergy Policy
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2012


  • Demand-side behaviours
  • Public acceptability
  • Supply-side technologies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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