What does a 1.5° future look like? The answer is different for different communities around the world, but there are some key elements that remain the same. The Policy Brief “Envisioning 1.5-Degree Lifestyles: Policies for Low-Carbon Cities in 2030” showcases learnings from Cape Town, Kyoto, New Delhi, Nonthaburi, São Paulo and Yokohama, forming a diverse picture of key policy recommendations for low carbon cities around the world.
Through the Future Lifestyles project, these six pioneering cities worked with their citizens to envision what sustainable lifestyles could mean for their communities. They looked at the average per capita emissions and identified key areas of intervention that could make the most impact, then discussed with citizens to see which solutions could most realistically be taken up. Here is what they found:
Cape Town, South Africa
The average Cape Town resident emits 9.16 tons of CO₂ equivalent (CO₂e) per year – that’s 73% higher than the 2.5 tons we all need to be at by 2030. Food generates the greatest share of household consumption at 45%, but up to 43% percent of those emissions could be reduced by following a plant-based diet.
Composting domestic food waste, growing vegetables at home, and cutting consumption of soda and juice were some of the other options identified to reduce food based emissions.
Read more about envisioning low carbon lifestyles in Cape Town.
In Kyoto, the average citizen emits 7 tons of CO₂e per year. But in order to achieve 1.5-degree lifestyles, that has to be reduced by 64% by 2030.
Housing accounts for 31% of emissions in Kyoto. In order to cut emissions from the sector, the city envisions a future in which it is common to build zero energy houses and many citizens install solar PV or purchase renewable energy.
Read more about envisioning low carbon lifestyles in Kyoto.
New Delhi, India
The household consumption of the average New Delhi resident is responsible for the annual emission of about 1.4 tons of CO₂e per person – this is below the 2030 target of 2.5 tons but will still require further reductions in order to achieve the 0.7 tons target by 2050.
Amongst mobility options, using public transport and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, as well as teleworking are the solutions that Delhi residents see as having the most potential.
From recent calculations, the average Nonthaburi household emits 3.15 tons of CO₂e per capita per year. The largest contributor to the average lifestyle carbon footprint in Nonthaburi is food, followed by leisure, mobility, consumer goods, services, and housing.
Two of the options with the highest carbon reduction potential identified are 1) having meals at home instead of eating out, which has the potential to save up to 142 kg CO₂e per capita, and 2) doubling the lifespan of each garment, which could help offset emissions by up to 79 kg CO2eq per capita.
São Paulo, Brazil
In the city of São Paulo, household consumption is responsible for the annual emission of about 3.6 tons of CO₂e per person. This calls for a reduction of household consumption emissions by 30% or more for achieving the target of 2.5 tons of CO₂e by 2030 and implementing lifestyles in line with the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement.
Food accounts for 38% of total household consumption emissions in São Paulo, but some of the highest identified reductions options were flagged by citizens as difficult to adopt. For instance, switching to low carbon protein rather than red meat could reduce per capita emissions by 540 kg CO₂e per capita, but citizens identified this would be challenging. One key policy recommendation for a low-carbon São Paolo is to broaden access to sustainable food alternatives.
In Yokohama, household consumption is responsible for the annual emission of about 7.1 tons of CO₂e per person per year. This calls for a reduction of 64% or more for achieving the target of 2.5 tons of CO₂e by 2030 and implementing lifestyles in line with the 1.5 °C target of the Paris Agreement.
Housing generates 28% of these emissions and some of the key options to reduce emissions relate to housing, such as the expansion of rooftop solar, or the potential to build zero energy housing which could reduce emissions by up to 1820 kg CO2eq per capita per year.
Read more about envisioning low carbon lifestyles in Yokohama.