The “Paris Lifestyle”—Bridging the Gap Between Science and Communication by Analysing and Quantifying the Role of Target Groups for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation: An Interdisciplinary Approach

  • Stephan SchwarzingerEmail author
  • David Neil Bird
  • Markus Hadler
Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)


World society and decision makers are running out of time to implement measures on climate change mitigation and adaptation. Incomplete knowledge and vast challenges in communicating climate change are crucial factors in this problem. In order to increase people’s awareness of their role in climate change, highly specific communication strategies are necessary. Besides insufficient information on group-specific realities of life, existing strategies are often limited by the absence of quantitative data that could give decision makers the opportunity to estimate the potential and evaluate the success of communication measures. In order to meet these requirements, energy use and corresponding emissions must be analysed in relation to behavioural patterns and technology choices of relevant social groups. This perspective leads to a more detailed understanding of how energy use and the responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions are distributed within society. This paper presents an interdisciplinary approach for providing the required knowledge within a single research process and describes its most relevant features as compared to previous methods. We describe the empirical development of an impact based “Energy Lifestyle” typology for the Austrian society and describe the six identified groups in detail with special focus on the challenges that might evolve in group specific communication. Thereafter, we set the six Energy Lifestyles in context with the name-giving concept “Paris Lifestyle” and discuss its role for evaluating the succession towards the goals set out in the Paris Agreement.


Climate change Energy use Emissions Lifestyle Quantification Target group identification Communication Policy Impact based Behaviour 



The work presented in this paper is part of the dissertation of Stephan Schwarzinger, who is the leading author regarding the identification of impact based lifestyle groups.

Finally, we would like to thank our colleagues at SERI (Sustainable Europe Research Institute) who provided the dataset used in our analysis.


  1. Abrahamse W, Steg L (2009) How do socio-demographic and psychological factors relate to households’ direct and indirect energy use and savings? J Econ Psychol 30(5):711–720. Scholar
  2. Bacher J, Pöge A, Wenzig K (2010) Clusteranalyse. Gruyter, de OldenbourgGoogle Scholar
  3. Bohunovsky L, Grünberger S, Frühmann J, Hinterberger F (2011) Energieverbrauchsstile Datenbank zum Energieverbrauch österreichischer Haushalte: Erstellung und empirische Überprüfung. EndberichtGoogle Scholar
  4. Bourdieu P (1987) Distinction: a social critique of the judgement of taste. Harvard University PressGoogle Scholar
  5. Buchanan K, Russo R, Anderson B (2015) The question of energy reduction: the problem(s) with feedback. Energy Policy 77:89–96. Scholar
  6. Hartmann P (1999) Lebensstilforschung. Darstellung, Kritik und Weiterentwicklung. Leske & BudrichGoogle Scholar
  7. Hermann D (2004) Bilanz der empirischen Lebensstilforschung. KZfSS Kölner Z Soz Sozpsychol 56(1):153–179. Scholar
  8. Hierzinger R, Herry M, Seisser O, Steinacher I, Wolf-Eberl S (2011) Energy styles. Klimagerechtes Leben der Zukunft—Energy Styles als Ansatzpunkt für effiziente Policy Interventions. Endbericht zum Projekt Energy Styles. Klima- und EnergiefondsGoogle Scholar
  9. Holden E (2004) Towards sustainable consumption: do green households have smaller ecological footprints? Int J Sustain Dev 7(1):44–58. Scholar
  10. Hradil S (1987) Sozialstrukturanalyse in einer fortgeschrittenen Gesellschaft. Sozialstrukturanalyse in einer fortgeschrittenen Gesellschaft. Leverkusen: Leske + Budrich. Scholar
  11. Johnson D, Horton E, Mulcahy R, Foth M (2017) Gamification and serious games within the domain of domestic energy consumption: a systematic review. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 73(Suppl C):249–264. Scholar
  12. Johnson TP (1998) Approaches to equivalence in cross-cultural and cross-national survey research. In: Harkness J (ed) Cross-cultural survey equivalence, vol 3. Harkness, Janet, pp 1–40. Retrieved from
  13. Kaklamanou D, Jones CR, Webb TL, Walker SR (2015) Using public transport can make up for flying abroad on holiday. Environ Behav 47(2):184–204. Scholar
  14. Kuha J (2004) AIC and BIC. Soc Methods Res 33(2):188–229. Scholar
  15. Lüdtke (1996) Methodenprobleme der Lebensstilforschung. Probleme des Vergleichs empirischer Lebensstiltypologien und der Identifikation von Stilpionieren. Scholar
  16. Meyer T (2001) Das Konzept der Lebensstile in der Sozialstrukturforschung—eine kritische Bilanz. Soz Welt 52(3):255–271. Retrieved from
  17. Otte G (2005) Construction and test of an integrative lifestyle-typology for Germany. Z Soz 6:442–467Google Scholar
  18. Poortinga W, Steg L, Vlek C (2004) Values, environmental concern, and environmental behavior. Environ Behav 36(1):70–93. Scholar
  19. Reusswig F (2002) Lebensstile und Naturorientierungen. Gesellschaftliche Naturbilder und Einstellungen zum Naturschutz. In: Rink D (ed) Soziologie und Ökologie, vol Lebensstile und Nachhaltigkeit. Konzepte, Befunde und Potentiale. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden, pp 156–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Schulze G (2005) Die Erlebnisgesellschaft. Kultursoziologie der Gegenwart. Campus Verlag, Frankfurt am MainGoogle Scholar
  21. Spellerberg A (2001) Peter H. Hartmann: Lebensstilforschung. Darstellung, Kritik und Weiterentwicklung. KZfSS Kölner Z Soz Sozpsychol 53(1):170–171. Scholar
  22. Tabi A (2013) Does pro-environmental behaviour affect carbon emissions? Energy Policy 63:972–981. Scholar
  23. Tomlinson M (2003) Lifestyle and social class. Eur Sociol Rev 19(1):97–111. Scholar

Online Sources

  1. European Commission, 2050 low-carbon economy, viewed 28 Sept 2017,
  2. OECD-modified Income Scale, viewed 14 Sept 2017,
  3. UNFCCC (2017) The Paris agreement, viewed 28 Sept 2017.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephan Schwarzinger
    • 1
    Email author
  • David Neil Bird
    • 1
  • Markus Hadler
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Climate, Energy and Society, Joanneum Research Forschungsgesellschaft mbHGrazAustria
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of GrazGrazAustria

Personalised recommendations