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Participants in the Climate Change Research Network are examining questions such as:

  • What are the aggregate emissions from individuals and households, and how do those emissions compare to the emissions from industry and other source categories?
  • Which individual behaviors release the greatest amounts of greenhouse gas emissions?
  • What are the greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicle idling and how can they be reduced?
  • How do personal carbon calculators vary in their outputs and conversion factors?
  • Which social psychological theories have the greatest explanatory power for greenhouse gas-emitting behaviors?
  • How do people perceive and value climate change risks, particularly when they are remote?
  • How do myths affect household carbon emissions?
  • What role do legacy concerns play in individuals' response to climate change?
  • How should these climate change risks be valued for policy benefit assessments?
  • What strategies are chosen by those policy advocates and to what extent are these strategies constrained by the political system in which they evolve? What changes in laws and policies can generate the most cost-effective reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from individual behavior?
  • What changes in the administration and staffing of government agencies will be required if climate change laws and policies are adopted?
  • What role can private institutions play in reducing carbon emissions?

Project Sponsors

Project activities have been supported by Vanderbilt Law School's Energy, Environment and Land Use Program, the Vanderbilt Center for the Study of Religion and Culture, the Vanderbilt Center for Environmental Management Studies, and the Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and the Environment.


"Beyond Gridlock" finds enormous potential in private emission reduction efforts "Beyond Gridlock," (advance copy) the article by Micahel Vandenbergh and Jonathan Gilligan examines how private governance can bypass government gridlock on climate change and buy time for a national and international carbon price. A carbon price – whether in the form of a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade program – is the optimal government response but is unlikely to be implemented within the next decade. Likely government policies will reduce emissions by far less than needed to reduce the risk of significant climate disruption, but recent corporate carbon disclosure programs, supply chain contracting requirements, investor pressure, and other private initiatives demonstrate the viability of another approach. Private initiatives can reduce carbon emissions without the coercive power or resources of government by correcting market and behavioral failures and by drawing on the support for mitigation that exists in a subset of the population. Commentary featuring "Beyond Gridlock". Michael Vandenbergh discusses the ideas behind the paper.