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Abstract: Tradable Energy Quotas (TEQs) is a economy-wide framework designed to shift social norms surrounding energy behaviour and to guarantee equitable access to energy in the context of either a deliberate or involuntary energy descent. This presentation will explore the likely distributional impact, public acceptability and behaviour change potential of the TEQs scheme. While claims in relation to the latter cannot be tested accurately without a full-scale, a review of some relevant psychological literature as well as early experimental simulated trials offer tentative support for the idea that norms and behaviour surrounding energy use could shift radically in the context of a TEQs scheme. Full realisation of this behaviour change potential, along with the political feasibility of the scheme, depends in large part upon its perceived legitimacy and fairness, and this remains a major challenge for TEQs and for the concept of hard caps more generally. However, levels of public support could change substantially in the case of energy price shocks or a sudden public appetite for seriously addressing climate change.

This media entry was a contribution to the special session “Sustainable consumption: The chance for absolute reduction?” at the 4th International Degrowth Conference in Leipzig in 2014.