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Transforming air travel behavior in the face of climate change: Incentives and barriers in a Swedish setting
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Air travel accounts for a major share of individual greenhouse gas emissions in high-income countries. Technical development alone will not be sufficient to meet international climate goals if air travel continues to increase as predicted. Behavioral change is thus essential.

Earlier research has shown that the gap between environmental attitudes and behavior is large when it comes to air travel; few reduce flying because of climate concerns. However, some people do, and there is a rising debate about individual responsibility and travel habits. This study, based on semi-structured interviews with Swedish residents who quit, reduce or continue flying, describes how such behavioral change comes about. Important incentives and barriers for this process are highlighted. A framework of societal transformation is applied to show where these incentives and barriers are located – in personal and political spheres.

This thesis suggests that internalized knowledge about the impacts of global warming is crucial to spark the process of reducing air travel. This awareness evokes negative emotions, often anxiety, guilt or frustration, which may lead to a personal tipping point where a decision to reduce flying is made. For many, such behavioral change is counteracted by both personal values and societal structures promoting air travel. Also individuals with a strong personal drive to reduce flying may feel trapped in social and professional practices, and even counteracted and ridiculed by society.

The study shows a lack of incentives from societal levels, pointing to the need for political action aiming to create economic incentives and more attractive alternatives to air travel, as well as deepened climate knowledge and change of social norms. The findings are valuable for policy makers who want to contribute to a transformation towards a more sustainable travel system.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 74
Keywords [en]
air travel; behavioral change; climate change; sustainability; transformation
National Category
Environmental Sciences Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-157489OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-157489DiVA, id: diva2:1221346
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Available from: 2018-06-20 Created: 2018-06-19 Last updated: 2018-06-20Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
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