1.5-Degree Lifestyles

The 1.5-Degree Lifestyles project investigates the impacts of consumption and lifestyles on climate change and the potential contributions of lifestyle changes to the 1.5-degree target of the Paris Agreement.

Our actions and behaviours comprise our lifestyles.  We make decisions based on our capabilities, our resources, and the effect we hope to have, on ourselves and on others.  The 1.5-Degree Lifestyles project does the following:

  • quantify the carbon footprint of our current lifestyles within the domains of housing, mobility, nutrition, consumer goods, and leisure
  • examine consumption patterns to understand the context behind these decisions
  • establish targets for lifestyle carbon footprints consistent with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement
  • identify options consistent with planetary warming of fewer than 1.5 degrees Celsius

The technical report, 1.5-Degree Lifestyles: Targets and options for reducing lifestyle carbon footprints is the result of phase one of this project, conducted under a consortium including IGES, Aalto University, D-mat, Sitra, and KR Foundation, with additional contributions from Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environmental and Energy and University of Helsinki.

The report develops the concept of lifestyle carbon footprints as the greenhouse gas emissions directly emitted and indirectly induced from household consumption, excluding those induced by government consumption and capital formation. These footprints are calculated as the sum of the footprints of six lifestyle domains; nutrition, housing, mobility, consumer goods, leisure, and services.  It proposes globally unified per capita targets for the carbon footprint from household consumption for the years 2030, 2040 and 2050. The report analysis five case studies, including Finland and Japan in detail, as well as less detailed analysis for Brazil, China, and India.

In order to achieve the 2050 target of the Paris Agreement, developed countries will need to reduce their per capita lifestyle carbon footprints by at least 80%, and some developing countries will also need to reduce their lifestyle carbon footprints.  The three most carbon-intense lifestyle domains for all five of the countries studied were housing, mobility, and nutrition.  However, the diversity of lifestyles across the five countries studied necessitates equally diverse approaches to reductions in lifestyle carbon footprints.  For example, reducing meat consumption would have more of an impact in Finland than the other countries, while Japan has higher housing emissions due to the relatively low usage of renewable energy for their electricity needs.

The second phase of the project is ongoing and will lead to a release of an updated 1.5-Degree Lifestyles report, reflecting changes in available carbon budgets and case study analysis of selected G20 countries.

Contact: m.bengtsson@hotorcool.org