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Envisioning 1.5-Degree Lifestyles: Policies for Low-Carbon Cities in 2030

  • Published on February 14, 2022

The concept of 1.5-degree lifestyles involves changes in household consumption for achieving levels of per person carbon footprint compatible with the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement (IPCC, 2018). This requires, on average, emitting the equivalent of 2.5 tons of CO₂ per person per year by 2030, and 0.7 tons of CO₂ per person per year by 2050 (Akenji et al., 2021), which implies substantial emission reductions, especially in industrial countries.

Besides how we consume, lifestyles are also how we relate to one another, what kind of neighbours, friends, citizens and parents we are, what kinds of values we nurture, and how we let those values drive our choices.

Cities present the context and infrastructures that shape lifestyles and provide citizens with options for food, housing, transport, and leisure. By 2030, cities will host over 60% of the global population (UN, 2019). Local governments and cities thus play a fundamental role in leveraging the transition to sustainable lifestyles.

The project ‘Envisioning Future Low-Carbon Lifestyles and Transitioning Instruments,’ funded under the United Nations One Planet Network, was launched to explore the 1.5-degree lifestyles concept at the city level. The project is led by IGES in collaboration with Hot or Cool Institute, D-mat, ICLEI Japan, the National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan (NIES) and the local partners: Akatu Institute (Brazil); Swechha (India); ICLEI Africa (South Africa); and Chulalongkorn University (Thailand).

The project aims at co-developing low-carbon lifestyle pathways through engaging citizens in workshops, household experiments, and scenario-building in six cities around the world (Cape Town, South Africa; Kyoto and Yokohama, Japan; New Delhi, India; Nonthaburi, Thailand; and São Paulo, Brazil).

This brief shares findings from the project implementation in the six cities involved, including policy recommendations for enabling 1.5-degree lifestyles.

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