Session 3

Implications of the 1.5-degrees target for the resource use of lifestyles
Michael Lettenmeier1,2,3, Mathis Wackernagel4
1Aalto University, Finland; 2Wuppertal Institut, Germany; 3D-mat ltd., Finland; 4Global Footprint Network, USA

At current emission level, humanity would have used up their remaining carbon footprint budget from now to eternity within four years or less, when compared to the emissions compatible with keeping global warming within a limit of 1.5 degrees. Therefore, zero net carbon lifestyles (for all) should be achieved well before 2050. These lifestyles have also to manage within the budgets of natural resources provided by the planet, e.g. in terms of land area and material resources available.
This paper looks at such lifestyles under the premises of the 1.5 degrees target and a sustainable level of resource use. “One-planet lifestyles” have been illustrated on relatively detailed level in studies on the Ecological Footprint and the Material Footprint. The paper illustrates the consumption features and the required reductions in the different consumption components on the basis of the three footprint approaches.
The paper discusses opportunities to achieve these one-planet lifestyles through consumption- , production- , and infrastructure-related measures. Opportunities in reducing the climate impact of food production and consumption are highlighted. Building new homes from wood instead of concrete to render buildings from carbon emitters to carbon sinks is another relevant option, or running public transport on low- and eventually zero-carbon renewables.
Pilot studies show that considerable reductions in people’s footprints, particularly among high-income communities, are possible even in the short term and with increasing quality of life. A huge amount of solutions for decreasing footprints already exists. Investing in the right energy, transport, food and urban infrastructure will therefore determine whether humanity will win, or if not done right lose, the sustainability race.