Low impact of interventions to promote action on climate change: Meta-analysis with 3M observations
Claudia F Nisa, Birga M Schumpe, and Jocelyn J Belanger
Received Date: 26th October 18
We present a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials comprising 725,904 households and 2,364,924 individuals from 20 countries, which estimates the effects of behavioural interventions to promote sustainability – including energy and water consumption, transportation, recycling, food choices and waste. Results show that these interventions promote sustainable behaviours to a small degree in the short-term (d=-0.093 95% CI -0.160, -0.055), with no evidence of sustained positive effects once the intervention is completed. The effect size adjusted for small-study bias and participant self-selection bias estimates in 2% to 3% the probability that these interventions will have an impact. With the exception of recycling, most sustainable behaviours display low behavioural plasticity, with driving behaviour and purchase of energy efficient appliances being particularly resistant to change. Our results strongly suggest that previous work has overestimated the impact of lifestyle interventions, leading to inflated predictions about how much carbon emissions can be reduced by targeting demand-side behaviour changes.
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This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.