IPCC report: Moving to sustainable lifestyles cuts global emissions by 40-70%
The report analyses 60 sustainable lifestyle
(Sustainabilityenvironment.com) – Changing our habits by adopting sustainable lifestyles can make all the difference for the climate. This is explained by the latest IPCC report on climate change in a new chapter entitled Demand, services and social aspects of mitigation. It is the first time in the history of Assessment Reports, in fact, that the Intergovernmental Panel on climate change analyzes in detail the climate scenarios where the demand side varies.
What the latest IPCC report on sustainable living says
In almost 200 pages devoted to the climate impact of sustainable lifestyles, the IPCC reviews a wide range of areas. And calculate the specific weight of each. Overall, reducing the climate footprint on the demand side has huge potential: it can reduce emissions in various sectors by 40-70% by 2050. And significantly lowers (or eliminates) the need to rely on yet dubious technologies such as CO2 capture and storage (CCS) or direct capture from air (CDR). Which are sponsored by the fossil industry to indefinitely prolong the extraction of coal, oil and gas.
The area where there is most room for improvement is the food sector. Here the possible greenhouse gas savings come to 8 billion t of CO2 equivalent (GtCO2e) out of the 17 total. This is followed by land transport (road, rail) with 6.5 GtCO2e. Then construction and the energy footprint of buildings with 5.7 GtCO2e and finally industry with 5.2 GtCO2e.
High numbers, but hard to reach. How to live a sustainable lifestyle? Perhaps veering toward sustainable lifestyles is one of the most complexes of global climate action operations. What is needed is a virtuous combination of commitment and conditions that are neither obvious nor easy to achieve: integrated and trans-sectoral public policies, harmonised with climate and energy policies, a socio-cultural change welcomed by the majority of the population, major structural adjustment (especially in construction and transport).
“Individual behavioral change is insufficient for climate change mitigation if it is not embedded in structural and cultural change,” notes the IPCC report.
Avoid, change, improve
The IPCC report frames all the necessary measures in a tripartite scheme – Avoid-Shift-Improve – that reflects the options available on the socio-cultural, infrastructural and technological sides.
The greatest impact in the Avoid area comes on the transport front, avoiding long-distance air travel and making available low-carbon urban mobility infrastructure over a short distance. In the field of Shift, the greatest potential is to change our diet, switching to a plant-based diet. On the Improve side, however, the greatest progress is made in the construction sector. Through wider use of technologies to improve energy efficiency on the user side and focusing on passive houses.
“Among the 60 identified actions that could change individual consumption. Individual mobility choices have the greatest potential for reducing carbon footprints,” reads the IPCC report. “Giving priority to mobility without cars, on foot and by bicycle, and adopting electric mobility could save 2 tCO2e per capita per year”. Other options with a high mitigation potential include: “reducing air travel, thermostat adjustments for cooling, reduced use of household appliances, switching to public transport and shifting consumption towards plant-based diets”.
Among other options to vary consumption habits and lifestyles are distilled from the analysis of almost 7000 scientific articles. The report also cites options such as the use of heat pumps. Reduction of housing space or co-housing, saving hot water, choose a Mediterranean diet.