Special session at ISIE 2023

EU 1.5° Lifestyles project team members at ISIE 2023
EU 1.5° Lifestyles project team members at ISIE 2023

EU 1.5° Lifestyles team members recently participated in the International Conference on Industrial Ecology (ISIE) conference in Leiden, the Netherlands, themed “Transitions in a world in turmoil” from 2-5 July 2023. Thanks to the fantastic job of the co-chairs Tomer Fishman and René Kleijn from Leiden University, the conference was a huge success, with over 850 participants joining from around the world, inspiring discussions and presentations, and a great atmosphere.

Our project lead for quantitative analysis of lifestyle carbon footprints, Laura Scherer, chaired a special session together with Mariësse van Sluisveld from the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency on “Low-carbon lifestyles to meet the 1.5°C target”, during which two team members presented their research. You can find our abstracts and download links for the presentations below.

We warmly thank all other presenters of the special session: Roberto Vaccaro (Eurac Research), Nicole van den Berg (Utrecht University), and Olga Ivanova (PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency)!

Banner: 11 International Conference on Industrial Ecology: Transitions in a world in turmoil. July 2-5 2023. Leiden. The Netherlands. Conference logo. Logos of the International Society for Industrial Ecology, the University Leiden, TU Delft. ISIE@CML.Leidenuniv.NL ISIE2023NETHERLANDS.NL Background: A Dutch gracht
ISIE 2023

 Low-carbon lifestyles to meet the 1.5°C target

Laura Scherer, Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML), Leiden, The Netherlands
Mariësse van Sluisveld, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL), The Hague, The Netherlands

Meeting the 1.5°C climate target requires both technological and lifestyle changes. IPCC’s sixth Assessment Report also highlighted the necessity of lifestyle change for climate change mitigation and adaptation and emphasized it more than previously. However, most research still focuses on technological change, such as the energy transition. The need for lifestyle changes differs across countries, and options to change lifestyles are numerous. So, it is important to quantify the need and compare the effectiveness of different lifestyle change options to give the best recommendations to citizens and policymakers.

This session aims to showcase the current development in lifestyle modelling, highlighting different methods for quantifying the carbon footprints of lifestyles and the reduction potentials of various lifestyle changes, their differences and similarities, as well as their advantages and disadvantages. At the same time, it gives insights into the level of change needed and the opportunities for lifestyle changes.

Various quantitative industrial ecology tools have been used to study the potential effects of lifestyle change. To date, these approaches have mostly entailed isolating specific cases (life cycle assessment, LCA) or simplifying behavioural patterns to deduct their rippling effects throughout the economy (input-output analysis, IOA). Efforts have also been invested in extrapolating the effect of lifestyle change into the future (e.g., agent-based models, ABMs, or integrated assessment models, IAMs). Given the experienced ‘truth in numbers’ for evidence-based policymaking, the question arises: Do these efforts pan out to be something useful to plan policy towards 2030 or beyond, or is it a mission impossible?

Projecting household carbon footprints in 2030 and 2050 by adapting supply and use tables following shared socio-economic pathways

Stephanie Cap, Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML), Leiden, The Netherlands
Arjan de Koning, Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML), Leiden, The Netherlands
Laura Scherer, Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML), Leiden, The Netherlands

Scenarios that limit global warming to 1.5°C rely on a combination of mitigation options to meet emissions reduction targets. The most ambitious emissions reduction pathways include widespread technological change, such as the adoption of renewable energy, deployment of carbon capture and storage and overall efficiency improvements across economic sectors. The share of climate change mitigation necessary from technological or behavioural change has generally been studied from a static perspective and thus does not account for how the need for mitigation from behavioural change evolves following possible economic and technological developments. In this study, which is a part of the H2020 project “EU 1.5° Lifestyles”, we calculated the remaining mitigation necessary from lifestyle changes (or negative emissions technologies) even with extensive technological transformation.

This study adapted a global supply and use table framework from EXIOBASE 3 in line with existing climate change scenarios to create scenario models of how consumption-based footprints will evolve by 2030 and 2050. The exogenous changes applied for each scenario are the basic elements from Shared Socio-Economic Pathway 1 (SSP1) and technical changes consistent with lower levels of anthropogenic forcing as modelled by the integrated assessment model IMAGE. Direct and second-order adjustments from balancing were implemented consecutively for changes to population, gross domestic product, economic structure, total factor productivity, electricity generation mix, electrification and biofuel uptake in the transportation sector, fuel shifts for space heating and manufacturing sectors, and adoption of carbon capture and storage by industry. Changes conceivably linked to behaviour change, such as household adoption of electric vehicles, were excluded to isolate the effects of technological shifts. After converting the adapted supply and use tables to a multi-regional input-output model, shifts in household final demand expenditure from increasing wealth were modelled by adjusting final demand spending following income elasticities of demand. The resulting scenario models were used to assess the extent that technological change alone can mitigate greenhouse gas emissions in the 44 countries and 5 Rest of World (RoW) regions covered by EXIOBASE 3. To assess compatibility with a 1.5°C scenario, we calculated household emissions targets from the median annual emissions in 2030 and 2050 for models following a 1.5°C trajectory and divided this equally per capita for the global average share of household emissions over the scenario period.

In 2030, the only regions remaining on a 1.5°C trajectory without additional efforts are India, Slovakia, RoW Africa, and RoW Asia. By 2050, no countries are projected to meet a 1.5°C-compatible target with only background system emissions reductions. Average global household emissions decrease from 3.56 tCO2e/cap in 2015 to 3.15 tCO2e/cap in 2030 before peaking at 4.01 tCO2e/cap in 2050. We estimated that without further household intervention, the average global overshoot for household emissions will be 0.85 tCO2e/cap in 2030 and 3.50 tCO2e/cap in 2050. If rising incomes lead to additional household fuel demand, following past trends and our modelling assumptions, household direct emissions will be a major challenge for decarbonization due to the sharply rising share of direct emissions in total household emissions.

Our results demonstrate the importance of behaviour change in climate change mitigation. Further research can quantify the amount of behaviour change options needed to stay within the aspirational 1.5°C target proposed in the Paris Agreement.

Presentation: Projecting household carbon footprints in 2030 and 2050 by adapting supply and use tables following shared socio-economic pathways

The Climate Puzzle – A tool for planning 1.5-degree lifestyles

Jari Kolehmainen, D-mat ltd., Helsinki, Finland
Michael Lettenmeier, D-mat ltd., Helsinki, Finland

The Climate Puzzle is a design and educational game developed by D-mat ltd and based on micro-level life-cycle data. Its purpose is to help households and other stakeholders to understand the concepts, opportunities, and challenges of 1.5° lifestyles (IGES, 2019; Akenji et al., 2021), and to provide concrete ideas and measures that inspire the transition towards low-carbon lifestyles. The Puzzle also fosters discussion and action around the systemic changes required to enable 1.5° lifestyles.

In the Climate Puzzle, a person or household first seeks to fill the gap between their present lifestyle carbon footprint (measured with a web-based calculator) and the 1.5° lifestyle target of 2.5 tonnes CO2e for 2030. The gap is filled with options reducing carbon footprints. The Climate Puzzle contains approximately ninety different options printed on approximately 130 cards of four different colours (for the consumption domains of nutrition, housing, mobility and other) and four different sizes (representing the carbon footprint reduction potential of the option on the card). After having filled the mentioned gap with cards, the cards are reorganized on a timeline from the present moment to the year 2030, thus making a plan for adopting one’s lifestyle towards the 1.5° climate target of the Paris Agreement. In the next step, the Climate Puzzle guides its user to plan experiments for reducing their lifestyle carbon footprint. Finally, the user is guided to consider how the public infrastructure and services as well as companies’ offering have to change in order to ease or accelerate people’s transition to low-carbon lifestyles.

The original Climate Puzzle has been developed for Finland and is nowadays available in Finnish, Swedish and English. An own version for Germany has been published in early 2023. As part of the Horizon 2020 project EU 1.5° Lifestyles an adapted version of the Climate Puzzle has been produced on the basis of input-output-based calculation for approximately fifty options reducing lifestyle carbon footprints. This version has been used in Citizen Thinking Labs and Stakeholder Thinking Labs in the case countries Germany, Spain, Hungary, Latvia, and Sweden in order to find out preferences, enablers, and barriers for mainstreaming 1.5° lifestyles. In Finland, the original Climate Puzzle has been employed in citizen workshops and Sustainable Lifestyles Accelerators organized by D-mat, municipalities, and others, with a total amount of more than 500 participants so far. Prototypes of the Climate Puzzle were tested in Japan, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Mexico and India.

Our experiences imply that the Climate Puzzle has been successful in enabling the participants to (a) understand the global climate targets in relation to their own lives, (b) perceive the variety and scale of multiple options for reducing carbon footprints, (c) develop pathways towards low-carbon lifestyles, and to (d) identify options that they can implement directly. The game can also be used in creating a learning space for enhancing stakeholder collaboration and dialogue.

Presentation: The climate puzzle – A tool for planning 1.5-degree lifestyles