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Envisioning Future Low-Carbon Lifestyles and Transitioning Instruments: New Delhi, India

  • Published on February 14, 2022

The vision of a sustainable future New Delhi addresses several challenges that the city is facing, including the integration of environmental justice, sustainability and resilience within the current social, economic and political framework. Some of the challenges of today are: inefficiency of the public transport system; air and water pollution; waste management and segregation; inefficient management of green spaces and forest cover.

Household consumption is responsible for the annual emission of about 1.4 tons of CO2 equivalent per person per year – this is below the 2030 target of 2.5 tons and calls for further emissions reduction for achieving the 0.7 tons target by 2050.

The “Envisioning Future Low-Carbon Lifestyles and Transitioning Instruments” project aims to address these important questions by engaging households and citizens from around the world to develop co-created pathways forward to truly sustainable ways of living. The Envisioning Future Low-Carbon Lifestyles and Transitioning Instruments project works with households and citizens to:

  • Develop co-created pathways to sustainability in countries across the world.
  • Mainstream low-carbon lifestyle options by identifying country-specific low-carbon options and showing the impact of various options and contextualizing them within overall carbon footprints.
  • Implement citizen workshops and household experiments to develop a participatory process whereby households develop and implement their own sustainability pathway.
  • Develop scenarios and policy recommendations drawing from experiences of households living with the low-carbon options.
  • Create a communication opportunity to further engage the general public across the world.


The Science is uncomfortably clear. The Paris Agreement proclaimed that we must “limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius…” (UNFCCC, 2015) in order to mitigate unprecedented impacts of climate change such as further biodiversity loss and the deterioration of public health. Many of us feel an urgent need to combat climate change and its impacts.

196 countries agreed to the Paris Agreement. It is understood that to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, we must change our way of living. We simply cannot continue on our current path of consumption. Reaching this goal requires social and economic transformation.

Nevertheless, the urgency of transitioning towards more sustainable lifestyles is often underestimated. Everyday living needs to be transformed at the size, scale and urgency required because the decisions we make to meet our daily needs for food, housing, mobility and leisure greatly impact the planet and the people around us. Prioritizing what we can all do can generate the momentum for change we need! In addition, our individual behavior changes must be accompanied by broader systemic and structural changes, including new institutions and infrastructures that embody the ethos of sustainability.

At this point you might ask yourself how we can actually achieve social change. We believe that a first step towards making sustainable lifestyles the social norm is to share the experiences of citizens who already tried to make 1.5 degree living a reality. So, we better understand which lifestyle changes are realistic, possible and even improve our own wellbeing. On the other hand, we can learn from the challenges and difficulties that are connected to lifestyle changes and at the same time identify the supporting measures that governments and cities need to put in place to speed up the process to a more sustainable future.

What emerges from the project is a mosaic of community-generated future lifestyle visions and experiences of households living with the low-carbon options complemented with scientific findings that show the emissions reduction potential in the areas of housing, mobility, nutrition, consumer goods & services, and leisure.  

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