Climate Change Resources

This section of the site provides quick access to case studies and helpful on-line social marketing resources for those who promote climate change mitigation and adaptation behaviours. We welcome suggestions for additional case studies and resources.

Latest News

November 25, 2021  |  New Climate Change Panel Designates Two Case Studies
Our newest Landmark peer review and selection panel, which focuses on climate change mitigation and adaptation behaviors, has awarded Landmark designation to two programs this year. (1) Climate Matters trains and supports American TV weathercasters to report on the local impacts of climate change while reflecting current scientific knowledge and concerns. (2) Day Zero covers the appropriate and effective use of a fear appeal to reduce water consumption in Cape Town, South Africa. Climate change, along with other factors has made water supply less predictable for this city of four million people. Landmark designation recognizes behavior change approaches and programs considered to be among the most successful, innovative, replicable and adaptable in the world.
May 6, 2021 |  New Resources Added
We've added six new case studies and nine Topic Resources during the past year. The case studies are in the left hand column below and the Topic Resources are in the right hand column. Let us know what you think. Access this new case study in the left hand column below.

Most Recent Climate Change Case Studies

Landmark Case Study Climate Matters Program for TV Weathercasters  Environment

Climate Matters trains and supports American TV weathercasters to report on the local impacts of climate change while reflecting current scientific knowledge and concerns. The program provides participating newscasters with weekly story packages with local data and broadcast-quality graphics that visualize the data. Because of an overt conflict in the meteorology community about opposing views of climate change, the program engaged a conflict mediator who worked with small groups of opinion-leading weathercasters to surface and work through the entrenched conflicts. As climate reporting became increasingly normative, the program ensured that everyone in the weathercasting community knew the behaviors were gaining in popularity. As of 31 October 2020, there were 968 participating weathercasters in 483 local TV stations, in 92% of all US media markets and 99 of the top 100 media markets. Viewers exposed to their climate education became more likely to understand that climate change is already a 'here, now, us' problem. Designated a Landmark case study in 2021.

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Landmark Case Study Day Zero: Cape Town Includes Fear Appeal to Avoid Running Out of Water  Environment

Fear appeals must be carefully considered as they can too-easily backfire and discourage people from taking in and acting on our messages. And why spread fear unnecessarily? This case study illustrates an appropriate and effective use of a fear appeal to reduce water consumption in Cape Town South Africa. It tracks 30 years, from the time the City predicted severe water shortages to the point where the taps nearly ran dry and this city of four million people reduced water use enough to avoid disaster. Designated a Landmark case study in 2021.

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Norway’s Promotion of Electric Vehicles  Environment

Several policies / incentives, in place over an extended period, have made Norwegians more likely to purchase electric vehicles (EVs) than people in any other country. These incentives have included: exemption from vehicle registration and high purchase taxes, reduced road tolls, free parking, and access to some bus lanes. A similar long-term approach could be adapted for other big-ticket purchasing behaviors where the impact justifies the expense – for example energy-efficient home / building retrofits and appliances. Norway's electric cars are close to zero-emission as 98% of its electricity came from hydropower.

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Landmark Case Study Seattle’s Just One Trip Phase II  EnvironmentHealth

Just One Trip Phase II illustrates the use of Propensity Modelling / Predictive Analysis, Street Ambassadors, Quality Online User Experience (UX), and trip planning to reduce the proportion of single-occupant car trips in Seattle WA, USA. It engaged over 21,000 people and on average participants reduced four drive-alone trips per week per person. Designated a Landmark case study in 2020.

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Landmark Case Study City of Austin’s Leave Time Travel Incentive  EnvironmentHealth

The City of Austin reduced employee commute travel by one million vehicle miles within six months of making its Leave Time Reward (LTR) a permanent incentive. During this period, the percentage of drive-alone trips fell from 53% to 41%. Attribution of these impacts to the City’s time off incentive policy is strengthened because that policy was introduced in the pilot study, then withdrawn after the pilot, then later reintroduced for the permanent program (Reversal Design.) Designated a Landmark case study in 2020.

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Landmark Case Study California’s Energy Conservation Competition  Environment

Participants in California’s Energy Conservation Competition work to change energy conservation behaviors in their schools relating to lighting, plug-loads, and mechanical systems. They also develop campaigns to encourage fellow students to communicate with teachers, peers, and administrators about energy conservation practices. This comprehensive program cuts school energy bills by 5% to 15%, and integrates climate education and energy efficiency, with linkages to hands-on job training and career development. Designated a Landmark case study in 2020.

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Opting Out in Germany for Non-Renewable Energy  Environment

While many people in Germany say they would use green energy if presented with a choice, very few consumers do so. In contrast, most people have been using green energy in a few German municipalities where citizens have had to opt out for non-renewable energy supplies rather than having to opt-in to get renewable ones. This case study presents their experiences and illustrates the value of randomized control trials (RCTs) for measuring program impacts.

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Stay on the Ground  Environment

The most effective approach to-date at shifting air travel to train travel, and also at promoting the sale of carbon offsets for airplane travel, this approach could also work well for other behaviors that are perceived by the audience as clearly important to do, yet are not being adopted by many people.

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Landmark Case Study Capitol Hill In Motion  EnvironmentHealth

Capitol Hill In Motion is a recent evolution of the individualized marketing approach used by King County, Washington State, USA. It illustrates how to further engage communities where most trips are already not drive-alone. With remarkably high signup rates, this campaign also delivered a solid 16% average reduction in drive-alone trips (surpassing the campaign goal and King County’s overall goal of a 10% reduction).  Designated in 2017. 

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Landmark Case Study Chicago’s Go Program  EnvironmentHealth

Chicago’s Go Program is an Individualized Marketing program that helps residents walk, bike, ride transit, and use bike share more frequently, while driving alone less often. Compared with past Individualized Marketing efforts in other cities, the Go Programs have pushed the envelope of inclusive, accessible programming that serves a very broad range of Chicago neighborhoods - and the very high participation rates and positive post-program stakeholder input show that this effort paid off. Because of these successes, the Go Program can serve as a model for other communities looking to integrate equity and diversity in Transportation Demand Management programs. On average, 65% of post-program survey respondents report increased walking, biking, or transit usage because of the program. The program’s behavior-changing results led the City of Chicago to designate funding for additional neighborhoods in the future. Designated in 2017. 

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Landmark Case Study ClimateSmart Home Service, Queensland, Australia  Environment

Once a resident signs up for Queensland’s ClimateSmart Home Service, a licensed electrician visits the home, installs a variety of energy-efficiency products, conducts an energy audit, provides recommendations, and leaves behind materials and prompts. The information collected is then used to create a customized plan that is sent to the homeowner approximately six weeks after the visit, with different audience segments receiving different messaging. A voluntary household energy challenge, wireless power monitors and an on-line portal help motivate and empower participants. ClimateSmart was designated a Landmark case study in 2011.

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Landmark Case Study Opower’s Home Energy Report, Minnesota  Environment

This program is a great example of the use of ongoing individualized feedback and prompts, coupled with norm appeals. Opower helps individual utility companies to send customized home energy use feedback reports to their residential utility customers. The full-colour reports include a comparison with other similar households, offer tips and strategies to reduce energy use, and provide seasonal energy consumption information. A web portal offers personalized insights and tips, and tools for choosing an optimal energy rate plan. In addition, Opower offers utilities the opportunity to send text messages directly to customers to alert them when their energy consumption is high and offer ways to reduce it. Updated as of October, 2014.

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Landmark Case Study Burlington’s Ice Rink Energy Competition  Environment

The City of Burlington's Ice Rink Energy Competition employs a low cost, easily replicable approach to significantly reduce energy consumption, associated greenhouse gases (GHG) and energy costs. A friendly competition to reduce energy at eight of the city's ice rinks helps change behaviours among staff and users, improves facility performance, and extends equipment life without sacrificing facility service levels or user satisfaction. Designated a Landmark case study in 2013.

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Landmark Case Study Class 5 Energy  Environment

This comprehensive, long-term approach combines education, training, behavior change and goal setting with progress tracking, recognition and continuous improvement to reduce energy use in schools, hospitals and other institutional settings.

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Barrie Water Conservation Program  Environment

The City of Barrie, Ontario has deferred millions of dollars in waste water and water supply capital expenditures with its retrofit water conservation program. The City supplied subsidized ultra low flow toilets, showerheads and aerators to Barrie residents over a two-year period.

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Most Recent Climate Change Resources

Tech Resources for Climate Change Programs  Environment

This web page lists free resources provided by the tech community in the following areas: climate change projections around the world; real-time visualization of electricity consumption and resulting CO2 emissions; and calculation of the amount of the carbon footprint or amount of greenhouse gases produced by individual activities, an individual building, or an entire company.

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Calling Climate Change a 'Crisis' May Not Do What You Think  Environment

Focusing on and using terms like "climate emergency" and "climate crisis" can backfire if they increase fear, decrease efficacy beliefs and hope, and reduce news credibility.

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Resources for Those at the Intersection of Behavior and the Environment  Environment

This page highlights RARE's resources for those at the intersection of behavior and the environment.

  • Behavior Change Interventions in Practice: A Synthesis of Criteria, Approaches, Case Studies, and Indicators.
  • The Science of Changing Behavior for Environmental Outcomes: A Literature Review.
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Emissions Disclosure Requirements Lower CO2 Output  Environment

When large power plants were required to disclose their carbon dioxide output, emissions fell by more than 7%, while at some small plants, exempt from disclosure, emissions rose at least 25%. This illustrates the Hawthorne Effect and the power of Norm Appeals.

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Making Heat Visible: Promoting energy conservation behaviors through thermal imaging  Environment

Two British studies indicate the value of thermal imaging for making heat loss visible and changing behaviors. Published in 2015.

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Longer-Lasting Actions and Responses to Extreme Events Can Have Great Impact  Environment

This 2018 paper links climate science and behavioural science, estimates the potential impact of behavioural programs, and predicts the three types of behavioural programs with the largest impact.

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Limiting Global Warming to 1.5 to 2.0°C: A unique and necessary role for health professionals  EnvironmentHealth

This short paper was written to engage health professionals in our efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change, Its central message is that climate solutions are health solutions, and health solutions are economic solutions. Health professionals are among the people best positioned to make sure that the public and policy makers understand this.

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Food Waste: From measurement to management  Environment

This 2019 document provides a much-needed framework for managing food waste, including food surplus, food loss and food waste.It also provides an overview of the literature on drivers of in-home food waste and translate them into guidelines for effective intervention development.

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Talking About Taking Airplanes  Environment

This guide outlines research and tips on talking about airplane trips and climate change. Updated periodically.

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Psychology of Global Warming  Environment

Insights from the psychology of judgment and decision making that might help the climate community communicate global warming science to an often-skeptical public. Published in 2010. Read More »

Program Impact Attribution  EnvironmentHealthSafety

This document provides a brief summary of options for assessing what portion of any measured behavior changes resulted from your program and what portion resulted from other influences. These options can also be used to attribute the affects of your program on a wide range of related variables such as resources used, pollutants released, accident rates and health status.

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Impact of Comics vs Photographs on Knowledge, Attitude and Behavioural Intentions  EnvironmentHealthSafety

This 2017 study compares two modes of visually presenting information  - one using photographs and the other using cartoons - on audience's knowledge, attitudes and behavioural intentions.

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Guides from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities  Environment

Provides guides, reports, toolkits and videos to help build stronger municipalities, with resources covering Affordable Housing, Energy, Low Carbon, Transportation Land use, Waste, Water, Women in government

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A National Strategy to Reduce Food Waste at the Consumer Level  Environment

This 2020 report summarizes a consensus study by the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine of ways to reduce U.S. food waste at the consumer level. Approximately 30 percent of the edible food produced in the United States is wasted and a significant portion of this waste occurs at the consumer level.

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Best Workplaces For Commuters  EnvironmentHealth

This site offers extensive case studies, tools, resources and research related to workplace commuting initiatives. The Best Workplaces for Commuters program provides national recognition for qualifying employers in the United States.

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