EU 1.5 Lifestyles Glossary

The language that we use to communicate about sustainable lifestyles matters. There are many complex concepts and definitions at play and using clear and precise language is critical to achieve our goal of mainstreaming 1.5° lifestyles. For instance, what exactly do we mean by 1.5° lifestyles? Explore the project glossary to learn more about key terms and concepts.

1.5° Lifestyles

1.5° lifestyles refer to ways of living within the remaining per-capita carbon budget that will allow us to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The 1.5 Degree Lifestyles Report defines this as 2.5 tonnes of CO2e per capita, per year by 2030, and 0.7 tonnes of CO2e by 2050.  The term 1.5° Lifestyles is similar to other commonly used terms such as low-carbon lifestyles or sustainable lifestyles but is more specific in that it quantifies the carbon budget we must stay within at a per-capita level. 

Carbon footprint

The carbon footprint is the amount of GHGs emitted in the atmosphere as a result of consumption-based human activities. It includes both the direct emissions from an activity and the indirect emissions from goods and services accounted for over their entire lifecycles.  The carbon footprint is commonly expressed in terms of CO2 equivalent by converting the climate impact of different GHGs into CO2 quantities causing an equivalent impact.

Carbon intensity

The emission of CO2 (or GHG) per unit of production or consumption. 

Consumption-based emissions

Consumption-based emissions are the GHG emissions required to meet a nation´s demand for goods and services. They differ from production-based emissions as the latter account for GHG emissions generated from the domestic production of goods and services irrespective of whether they are consumed domestically or are exported. 

Efficiency improvement

Actions that reduce carbon intensity, often through technical means. This can result in reduced emissions while levels of consumption remain constant. However, efficiency improvement can cause rebound effects by stimulating increased consumption – when this happens, it reduces some of the potential emission reduction. 

Environmental footprint

This term refers to the negative impacts to the environment resulting from human activities. Depending on different methodologies, the environmental footprint could include climate change impacts, ecotoxicity, land-use change, biodiversity loss, water use, and others, often aggregated into a single index. 

Food carbon footprint

This term refers to the GHG emissions generated for producing, distributing, and consuming food. 

Footprint reduction

Actions that can reduce the GHG emissions associated with a person’s lifestyle, including behaviour changes, technical changes that reduce carbon intensity, or a combination thereof.

Housing carbon footprint

This term refers to the GHG emissions generated for building, heating, and generating the energy used in houses.

Leisure carbon footprint

This term refers to the GHG emissions generated for building the infrastructures for and performing leisure activities such as sports, cultural activities, and holidays. 

Lifestyle domains

Lifestyle domains are categories grouping main areas of consumption that contribute to meet human needs. They include food, housing, transport, consumer goods (such as clothes or electronics), services, and leisure. 

Services carbon footprint

GHG emissions generated for building the infrastructures, distributing, and using services including medical, financial, and communication services. 

Sufficiency lifestyles

This term refers to lifestyles where essential conditions for human wellbeing are met for all within the planetary boundaries. They can be enabled by policies and practices that reduce the demand for energy, materials, land, water, and other natural resources while delivering decent living standards.