SCORAI 1.5 Degree Lifestyles Webinar

SCORAI is happy to present the first of what may become a series of interactive webinars.

Speakers:

  • Dr. Lewis Akenji, Director for Sustainable Consumption & Production, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies
  • Dr. Vanessa Timmer, Executive Director, One Earth and Senior Research Fellow, Urban Futures Studio, Pathways to Sustainability, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University

Sustainable Lifestyles remain a hot-potato issue, often circumvented in decisions and actions towards a sustainable future. However, a new report makes the argument that changes in our consumption patterns and lifestyles are inevitable, and does the numbers crunching to demonstrate the magnitude of potential changes in lifestyles needed in order to achieve the 1.5-degree aspirational target of the Paris Agreement on climate change.  This webinar reviews findings of the new report by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Aalto University and D-Mat, financed by the KR Foundation and the Finnish Innovation Fund SITRA.

It introduces the concept of lifestyle carbon footprint (LCF), and establishes globally unified LCF targets of roughly 3,2,1 tCO2e per person per year by, respectively 2030, 2040, and 2050. More specifically, globally, citizens and society need to aim for per-person consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions targets of 2.5 (tCO2e) in 2030, 1.4 by 2040, and 0.7 by 2050 in order to keep global temperature rise to within 1.5 degrees. Considering current consumption levels, citizens in industrialized countries like Finland and Japan have to cut their lifestyle carbon footprint by about 80-90% or more within the next 30 years. Reductions are necessary not only for industrialised countries; industrialising countries like China, India and Brazil also need to reduce their consumption from current levels of consumption by about 30-80%  – a significant challenge where basic needs of large parts of their populations are often not met yet.

Over 50 relevant options for reducing lifestyle carbon footprints are highlighted in this study, including impactful options that can contribute to over 0.25 tCO2/cap/year of footprint reduction. Three indispensable and complementary approaches to 1.5-degree lifestyles highlighted in the report are: absolute reduction, modal shift, and efficiency improvements. Lifestyle carbon footprints are not only the result of individual consumption decisions but are largely influenced by provision systems, including infrastructures, institutional mechanisms, political decisions, and business operations. These also need to be changed.

The webinar focuses on the results of this report and in the final section introduces the Beacon on Sustainable Living project focused on finding and developing transformative communications materials on sustainable living that equip us to shift the discourse and our mindsets, backed by an online hub of curated references, cases, future visions, and resources to further reinforce transformative solutions.

Dr. Lewis Akenji is Director for Sustainable Consumption and Production at the the think-tank IGES (Institute for Global Environmental Strategies). Among others, he coordinates research and policy activities on sustainable societies – including natural resources use, and sustainable lifestyles. He leads the research project consortium on 1.5-degree lifestyles, analysing potential contributions of changes in lifestyles to the 1.5-degree target under the Paris Agreement on Climate change. He is lead author of two recent UN publications: Sustainable Consumption Guide for Policy Makers: Debunking Myths and Outlining Solutions (Asia Edition); and Sustainable Consumption and Production: A Handbook for Policymakers (Global Edition).

Dr. Vanessa Timmer is the Executive Director of One Earth, a Vancouver, Canada-based environmental ‘think and do tank’ creating and imagining sustainable ways of living in cities and around the world. One Earth collaborates with partners to transform how people live their lives – what they need, what they consume and produce, and what they aspire to – enabling everyone to live good quality of lives within their fair share of our planet’s resources. Vanessa is also a Senior Research Fellow at Utrecht University with Pathways to Sustainability, the Urban Futures Studio, and the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development. She holds a Doctorate and studied at Queen’s University, Oxford, UBC and Harvard. Vanessa sits on the Multi-stakeholder Advisory Committee for the United Nations 10YFP Sustainable Lifestyles Programme. In Canada, she is a Board member of the National Zero Waste Council and of the Vancouver Foundation Partnership Committee. She received the 2018 YWCA Women of Distinction Award in Environmental Sustainability.

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