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Addressing climate change will require radical changes in lifestyles: new report by international consortium of research institutes

1,5 degree lifestyles

If the world is to keep climate change at manageable levels before the middle of the century,changes in lifestyles are not only inevitable, but would need to be radical, and start immediately. Considering current consumption levels, citizens in many developed countries would have to cut their lifestyle carbon footprints by about 80-90% or more, and some in developing countries by about 30-80% within the next 30 years. This is one of the key messages coming from the report “1.5-Degree Lifestyles: Targets and options for reducing lifestyle carbon footprints,” just launched by a group of experts from an international consortium of research and policy institutes.

The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Aalto University, D-mat, the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, and the KR Foundation, at the World Resources Forum (WRF), today announced the launch of a report which analyses the carbon footprints of household lifestyles and how changes can contribute to meeting the ambitious 1.5-degree aspirational target envisaged by the Paris Agreement on climate change. Findings in the publication make it clear that changes in consumption patterns and dominant lifestyles are a critical and integral part of the solutions package for addressing climate change. It analyses scientific emission scenarios and case studies from Finland, Japan, China, Brazil, and India, and proposes long-term targets for individuals’ lifestyle carbon footprints by 2030-2050, as well as low-carbon options that citizens and society can adopt.

The report provides a unique analysis of potential implications of the Paris Agreement from a lifestyle perspective, whereas most existing studies predominantly focus on production- and technology-based solutions. The publication establishes the first global per-capita lifestyle carbon footprint targets for 2030 to 2050 with explicit linkages to the 1.5-degree target. It also proposes an indicator of “lifestyle carbon footprint,” a consumption-based greenhouse gas accounting used for establishing targets, examining current status, and identifying solutions. Its comprehensive series of analyses focus on the climate impacts of household lifestyles and can be further expanded to countries beyond the selected case studies.

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