The focus on individual, household, and community behavior is based on the recognition that the individual and household sector generates roughly 30-40% of U.S. carbon emissions and represents an enormous and largely untapped source of prompt, low-cost emissions reductions. Changes in individual behavior also have feedback effects on government and business. Consumers’ attitudes and citizen/consumer behavior affect policymakers’ willingness to adopt more effective laws and policies and create corporate incentives to develop less carbon-intensive products and technologies. The conference will examine whether consumption practices can or should change, and, if so, whether a focus on individual and household consumption offers a viable means to slow the rate of carbon emissions.
The conference is organized and co-sponsored by several Vanderbilt University groups, including the Law School Regulatory Program, the Vanderbilt Center for the Study of Religion and Culture, and the Climate Change Research Network, and by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Environmental Law Institute in Washington, DC. Many of the papers presented at the conference will be published in a special issue of the Environmental Law Reporter and possibly another journal.