Project: Exploring public attitudes to, and understanding of, the measurement and quantification of personal carbon dioxide emissions

Reference: R199

Last update: 17/06/2009 16:25:47


There are 4 primary objectives for this research
a) Explore individuals' understanding of terms such as 'carbon allowance', 'carbon footprint' and the units that CO2 emissions are presented in (e.g. MtC);
b) Explore individuals' engagement with carbon calculators and how this can be increased. To consider both actual users and those with varying levels of motivation and interest in climate change/energy consumption;
c) Consider individuals' views on what information would influence attitudinal and behavioural change and how it could best be presented; and
d) Provide recommendations for the good practice design and presentation of CO2 emission information..


The research is to provide the Department for Transport (DfT) with an in depth understanding of public engagement with issues related to the measurement and quantification of personal carbon emissions as calculated and presented within any carbon calculator. This research will compliment other DfT research exploring the public's wider understanding of climate change and transport behaviour, by providing an opportunity to explore this particular issue in more depth.

The project will build upon the recently published DfT commissioned evidence base review of public attitudes to climate change and travel choice. That research identified a number of gaps within the evidence base, a number of which are being addressed by this research.

It is anticipated that the project's findings will serve four primary purposes. First, the findings will contribute to the further development of the evidence base. Second, they will be used to support the development and integration of carbon calculators within the government's online services. The findings will also be used to support the development and introduction of policies aimed at reducing the environmental impact of travel behaviour. Finally, the findings will be drawn upon to further inform the Department's development of effective media and communications campaigns relating to climate change.

The research findings will be of interest to a number of DfT divisions including Cleaner Fuels and Vehicles, Transport Direct and Communications Directorate, as well as other government departments e.g. Defra.


BMRB Social Research
Ealing Gateway , 26-30 Uxbridge Road, London, W5 2BP
020 8433 4061

Contract details

Cost to the Department: £90,000.00

Actual start date: 08 January 2007

Actual completion date: 30 January 2008


Exploring public attitudes to personal carbon dioxide emission information
Author: Alice Coulter and Sue Clegg, Glenn Lyons, Tim Chatterton and Charles Musselwhite
Publication date: 30/09/2007
Source: DfT Website
More information:

Summary of results

  1. Please refer to publication for results