Niemi M, Skelton A, Noone K, Olsson MJ
Earths Future 9 (5) e2020EF001909 [2021-05-00; online 2021-05-05]
Lockdown measures in response to the new Covid-19 virus have caused the largest ever fall of annual greenhouse gas emissions. A key question that we attempt to answer in this study is which, if any, of these measures can be productively encouraged post-lockdown in efforts to sustain at least part of this reduction in emissions. Sweden is uniquely suited for our study because the voluntary nature of lockdown in Sweden allowed us to assess the level of compliance to recommendations and its effects on greenhouse gas emissions. First, we assessed the change of perceived quality of life (QOL) among 746 individuals from Stockholm region due to adhering to lockdown measures. Second, we calculated the associated change of annual per capita greenhouse emissions. We found that avoiding travel for work, avoiding purchasing, and avoiding restaurants had the least negative effect on QOL, and at the same time the largest positive effect on carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emission reductions. We conclude that these are potential leverage points for stimulating behavioral change that has a positive climatic impact.