Japanese citizens’ preferences regarding voluntary carbon offsets: an experimental social survey of Yokohama and Kitakyushu

In Environmental Science & Policy
Volume (Issue): 25
Peer-reviewed Article

This study uses an experimental social survey in two large Japanese cities to explore
citizens’ attitudes toward international voluntary carbon offsetting that encourages low
carbon development in developing countries. In particular, the study focuses on whether
the offsetting is a contribution to meet national target of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
reduction under the Kyoto Protocol or reduction beyond the national target, using Kyoto
credits generated from climate change mitigation projects in developing countries. The
study finds that around 40% of the survey respondents chose real carbon offsetting over a
gift certificate as compensation for their participation in the survey, around half of whom
chose carbon offsetting contribution to the world. However, most of the current Japanese
carbon offsetting providers utilise only the carbon offsetting contribution to the Japanese
government. Thus, Japanese citizens have significant untapped potential for undertaking
more carbon offsetting to meet targets other than national targets. However, the results also
show that there is a general lack of understanding regarding the mechanism of carbon
offsetting. Carbon offsetting providers in Japan and other countries that may have national
self-imposed targets and allowing the usage of international carbon offsetting should
therefore be considered, so as to provide individuals with the options of either contributing
to their government to help it meet its national target or contributing to the world to help
reduce GHG emissions beyond the national targets.


on-line first