Byrne, Rosemary, Susan Byrne, Ray Ryan, & Bernadette O’Regan (2017, November). Applying the Q-method to identify primary motivation factors and barriers to communities in achieving decarbonisation goals. Energy Policy, 110, 40-50. (

Abstract: It has been predicted that despite previous reductions, greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland will continue to increase above current levels for the next 20 years. The benefit of mobilizing community level action in addressing climate change action has already been seen in many European countries. While Irish governmental policy envisions as necessary greater community involvement in energy projects and other efforts to reduce carbon emissions, little progress has been encouraging or supporting such action. Using the Q-method, this study examined and identified where commonalities exist in Irish communities that have successfully implemented sustainable development goals, in terms of their motivation, attitudes, perceived barriers and opportunities for continued action. Results indicate that participants’ main motivations are derived from a sense of responsibility to future generations and the need to live more balanced lifestyles. Results further suggest that short-term central government strategy, poor support, bureaucracy, and a lack of collaboration are seen as key limitations in developing and achieving effective community level sustainability action. This study contributes in understanding how climate change policy can be aligned to the preferred future vision of communities in bringing about effective change in transitioning to a low-carbon society.

Rosemary Byrne <> is with the Centre for Environmental Research, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland.