Commentary: Key findings from the study on Lifestyle Carbon Footprints

This commentary summarises the key findings and implications of the study on Lifestyle Carbon Footprints: Long-term targets and case studies of the carbon footprints of household consumption. This study introduces and develops an approach to establishing lifestyle carbon footprints: greenhouse gases directly emitted during and indirectly induced by household consumption, excluding those induced by government consumption and capital formation.

Based on a review of existing emission scenarios, this study proposes globally unified targets for the lifestyle carbon footprint of 2.5 t by 2030, 1.4 t by 2040, and 0.7 tCO2e/cap/year by 2050. These targets are based on 1.5-degree scenarios with limited or no use of negative emission technologies, considering the uncertainty in the availability of these technologies. The estimated total average lifestyle carbon footprints vary considerably among countries. Comparing current levels with GHG emission targets set for 2030 shows that current average lifestyle carbon footprints considerably exceed the targets for Finland and Japan, and slightly exceed those for China and Brazil. These gaps suggest that lifestyle GHG emissions need to decrease in order to achieve the lifestyle carbon footprint target. Out of the consumption domains considered, food, housing, and mobility tend to have the largest impact on total lifestyle carbon footprints.

This commentary was published as part of the 1.5-degree lifestyles carbon footprint project. More information can be found in the full technical report of the study.