Social Patterns of Energy Consumption and Lifestyles: Towards a Low Carbon Society? a Study in Chilean Society

Friday, July 18, 2014: 4:24 PM
Room: Booth 44
Oral Presentation
Cristian PARKER , Universidad de Santiago de Chile, SANTIAGO, Chile
The growing demand for primary energy consumption in many Latin American (LA) countries is carbonized raising a challenge to move towards low-carbon economies.

Promoting social patterns of low-carbon energy consumption involves analyzing the lifestyles associated with the current energy consumption. Indeed social patterns of primary energy consumption (lighting, cooking, heating / cooling and transport) are associated with lifestyles.

According to the thesis of Inglehart (2000) environmental pro would be a move typical of affluent societies, typical of a post-materialist era. Following this thesis social patterns of low-carbon energy consumption would not be found in developing countries, or be found only in its upper-middle and upper classes. The few sociological studies do not allow to a conclusively answer.

Sustainable development in Latin America is being challenged. Population growth is not driving the increase in GHG emissions, but rather growth in consumption (Satterthwaite, 2009). In this global context, Chile is an example of an emerging economy whose growth affects the environment.

It is possible to hypothesize that the energy consumption in emerging countries (in AL) is associated with the family socioeconomic unequal position.  But what happens when we study social patterns of energy consumption of  families of similar social positions?

Research on households energy consumption, their views and behavior is complex (Lutzenhiser, 1993). No sociological studies seem to be available for answering this question in AL. This paper aims to shed light on this issue based on qualitative and quantitative empirical sociological research recently conducted in Chile.