Analysing greenhouse gas emissions overshoot in Europe in 2030 and 2050

Source: Noun Project

Can we remain within 1.5°C of warming without undertaking lifestyle shifts?

Technological change alone, such as decreased emissions from the building, industrial and transport sectors following the adoption of more efficient technology and renewable energy, will likely not be sufficient to limit global warming to 1.5°C.[1]

Work Package 1 of the 1.5°C Lifestyles project analyzes how combinations of lifestyle options can meet greenhouse gas emissions targets for 2030 and 2050 which are compatible with 1.5°C of warming. As the first step, we first are calculating the greenhouse gas emissions of all European Union and three G20 countries (Mexico, South Africa, and Indonesia) in 2030 and 2050 following the development of Shared Socioeconomic Pathway 1 – a narrative for global development focusing on sustainability and equality. We are modelling these developments by changing the economic structure and emissions intensity as reported in supply and use tables (EXIOBASE) and then calculating emissions changes with environmentally-extended input-output analysis (EE-IOA). For instance, we included demographic changes and increased adoption of more efficient and renewable technologies in the industrial sectors by adjusting demand for specific commodities by industry or reducing the emissions associated with an economic activity.

Because of the use of EE-IOA, we can estimate the footprints attributable to final household demand in each of these countries from both domestic and imported consumption. We include all demographic and industrial background system shifts but exclude changes in lifestyles, as these will be modelled based on input from citizen thinking labs later on. Following our analysis of the difference between projected carbon footprints from our modelling and the carbon footprints necessary for 1.5°C of warming, we will estimate how much emissions reduction is still needed through lifestyle changes.

Stephanie Cap and Laura Scherer, Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML), Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands

[1] van Vuuren, D.P., Stehfest, E., Gernaat, D.E.H.J. et al. Alternative pathways to the 1.5 °C target reduce the need for negative emission technologies. Nature Clim Change 8, 391–397 (2018).

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