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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 Politics book coverBeyond Politics: Private industry needs to step up on climate change

In a new book, Beyond Politics: The Private Governance Response to Climate Change, Michael Vandenbergh and co-author Jonathan M. Gilligan, associate professor of earth and environmental science, make the case for how the private sector and businesses can fill the environmental gap.

Professor Jonathan Gilligan“I’m not optimistic that it will solve the problem tomorrow,” Gilligan said. “I am optimistic that the private sector can make a difference. We can eliminate a billion tons of carbon emissions each year over the next decade. That would matter.”

Vandenbergh and Gilligan point to numerous ways private-sector companies can benefit by taking environmentally friendly actions. Reducing global warming can be profitable for companies, sometimes simply by lowering the electricity bill.

Professor Michael Vandenbergh“We know that enormous amounts of money are being wasted on things like jet fuel in the aviation industry,” Vanderbergh said. “A recent study found that airlines don’t provide pilots with information about how to use fuel efficiently, so they are wasting hundreds of thousands of gallons.”

More efficient fuel usage would lower costs for an airline as well as lessen emissions, he said. Read more