DKK 5.8 million for research on technology and CO2 awareness

Steffen Dalsgaard from the IT University of Copenhagen has received DKK 5.8 million from Independent Research Fund Denmark’s Sapere Aude programme for a project investigating how data technologies can support more climate-friendly behaviour.

Business IT DepartmentResearchgreen ITSteffen Dalsgaard

How big is the carbon footprint of a steak, a new pair of sneakers or a flight to Miami? Many apps can provide an answer to this, but it is unclear whether such technologies actually make us act more climate-friendly. This will now be investigated in a new research project at the IT University of Copenhagen.

"Even though awareness of carbon emissions is beginning to sneak into our everyday lives, it is still a fluffy phenomenon for most people. Translating everyday consumption into carbon emissions requires tremendously specialized scientific knowledge, which ordinary people have to trust. For this reason, convincing communication about carbon emissions is crucial. Digital platforms like apps can play a role here, but the big question is whether they can actually make people change their behaviour," says Steffen Dalsgaard, Associate Professor at ITU and project lead.

CO2 as a cultural pheomenon

The research project will consist of four sub-projects, each investigating how different groups are using technology to understand carbon emissions in their own everyday context. For instance, researchers will conduct anthropological fieldwork among 'green' Christians, carbon traders and climate researchers.

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It was previously thought that people will change their lifestyles if only they have the data and technologies to do it. However, research has shown that this is not necessarily the case.

Steffen Dalsgaard, Associate Professor at ITU
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Steffen Dalsgaard hopes that the project will help explain how CO2 is evolving as a cultural phenomenon and how technology can serve as a tool for engaging ordinary people in the climate problem.

"It was previously thought that people will change their lifestyles if only they have the data and technologies to do it. However, research has shown that this is not necessarily the case. So this project is about understanding under what circumstances it is possible to make a difference with IT and how technologies can be adapted to our cultural reality," he says.

Further information

Steffen Dalsgaard, Associate Professor, phone +45 7218 5251, email sdal@itu.dk

Vibeke Arildsen, Press Officer, phone 2555 0447, email viar@itu.dk