The main focus areas of research in terms of ecological inequality lie in environmental injustice, distributional effects of environmental policy and the distribution of environmental hazards.
International studies show inequality concerning the access to environmental quality in various industry and development countries; at the same time, income inequality and ecological inequality reinforce themselves. Deficits in regard to these questions can be identified in Austria and Europa, even though inequality issues of environmental policy gain importance.
Distribution of CO2 Emissions
The emission of greenhouse gases of private households is strongly linked to consumption patterns. Our resarch in this area focuses on questions such as how higher income influences total absolute emissions (e.g., in tons of CO2-equivalents) and which goods drive these patterns. Preliminary research for Austria unveils that the Top 10% of households by income emit 3-5x times as much as the bottom 10%. Among the strongest drivers of this trend is the increasing importance of mobility in higher income classes.
Energy System Transformation
The transformation of our energy system is a key ingredient in limiting global warming. A large body of research focuses on technical possibility, costs, and similar issues of renewable energy. What has been neglected so far is the effect of this transformation on private households. Our research targets this important issue by asking questions such as: Who pays for the energy system transformation? Who profits? We analyse how costs and returns of renewable energy sources are distributed between households and calculate early-adopter potentials of, e.g., solar power roll-outs.