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Governments in G20 countries must enable 1.5 aligned lifestyles

  • Published on February 17, 2022

The report explores impacts of consumption in six domains: food; housing, personal transport; goods; leisure; and services, and uses these to aggregate total lifestyle carbon footprints and reveal hotspots in the ten surveyed countries, representing high-, middle-, and low-income countries, and identifies consumption domains with the highest impact on the environment. Focusing efforts to change lifestyles in relation to these domains would yield the most benefits; bridging the gaps in each country.

New research from the Hot or Cool Institute released today finds that all G20 countries analysed exceed the lifestyle carbon footprint for 2050, requiring rapid and radical reductions. The report explores policies governments can implement to pave the way for greener lifestyles, rather than focusing on individual behaviour changes, which will not be sufficient to achieve these reductions.

 

The latest edition of the Institute’s 1.5-Degree Lifestyles report analyses lifestyle carbon footprints from nine G20 countries around the world—Canada, UK, Japan, China, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil, India and Indonesia as well as Finland—and identifies where changes can be made to meet the Paris Agreement 1.5℃ climate target.

 

By analysing lifestyle habits in six domains—food, housing, personal transport, goods, leisure, and services—this report presents the current per capita lifestyle carbon footprints for each country, and delivers options for shrinking lifestyle footprints in line with a 1.5℃ world.

In order to meet the 2050 ambitious Paris target, high-income countries’ lifestyle footprints need to be reduced by over 90% (91–95%), upper-middle income countries need to reduce their footprints by 68–86%, and lower-middle income countries like India need to reduce footprints by 76%.

 

The study also highlights the huge inequalities and differences in lifestyle-related greenhouse gas emissions among the world’s major economies. An average person in Canada, the country with the highest per-capita emissions among the economies studied, has a lifestyle footprint six times larger than a person in Indonesia.

 

Going beyond individual behaviour change, the report looks at how a lack of enabling policies might be preventing people from making 1.5-aligned lifestyle choices. From making specific recommendations for how countries can make changes to their public transport and housing infrastructure to calling for bans of high-carbon intensive consumerism like the use of mega yachts, this report outlines policies and market interventions that can be implemented at a domestic and international level to curb lifestyle carbon footprints.

 

This was originally published in: Hot or Cool Institute

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